Portland Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard put on a memorable performance against the Denver Nuggets in Game 5. Although he didn’t win the game, the six-time All-Star did two things basketball fans have never seen before.
Since he’s a competitor and team player, Lillard was disappointed the Blazers lost Game 5 in double overtime. However, he can take solace in the fact that his lethal scoring and shooting skills had a Nuggets player look to the sky and thank God after he missed a shot.
Damian Lillard etched his name in NBA history
Lillard was simply out of this world in Game 5. He finished with 55 points, six rebounds, and 10 assists while shooting 17-of-24 from the field, 12-of-17 from beyond the arc, and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in 51 minutes of action.
According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Lillard is the only player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in a game and rack up at least 10 assists and 10 3-pointers. He is a once-in-a-generation player, and the Blazers are fortunate he’s on their team and has never shown an urge to leave for greener pastures.
Lillard hit two incredible 3-pointers to tie the game, one in regulation and the other in the first overtime. Unfortunately for the Blazers, Denver outscored them 12-5 in double overtime to win Game 5 by a final score of 147-140. They are now one win away from advancing to the second round.
Nuggets guard Austin Rivers, who had a terrific game himself, tried his best to guard Lillard in Game 5. However, he was no match for the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year. There isn’t anyone in the NBA who can guard Lillard. You have to pray that he misses, and that’s exactly what Rivers did.
Austin Rivers looks to the sky and thanks God after Damian Lillard misses a shot
Lillard was so unconscious in Game 5 that when he missed a shot in double overtime, Rivers looked to the sky and said, “Thank God.” That’s how good Lillard was against the Nuggets in the Mile High City. He almost single-handedly won the game, as no other Blazers player scored 20 points. C.J. McCollum had 18, but he shot just 31.8% from the floor.
If the Blazers lose Game 6 at home, it will be the second consecutive season Lillard and Co. will lose in the first round of the postseason. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated Portland in the first round of the 2020 playoffs in five games at the Walt Disney World bubble.
Lillard is averaging 35.6 points against the Nuggets while shooting 47.4% from the field and 47.8% from beyond the arc. The Blazers somehow won Game 4 despite their best player scoring just 10 points and shooting 1-of-10. Everyone knew Lillard would respond in Game 5 after a terrible Game 4, but the fact that he made history shows how special and dynamic he is.
Dame will never win a title with the Blazers
It’s sad to admit, but Lillard will never win a title with the Blazers. His loyalty should be commended since so many other stars jump ship and join other stars. However, the Oakland native’s allegiance to Portland will ultimately be his downfall.
There have been rumors that the Blazers will fire head coach Terry Stotts should the Nuggets win Game 6 or 7. Lillard won’t request a trade since he wants to retire with Portland, so management has to find a way to get another superstar next to him in the offseason. That means moving McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic would have to be on the table.
You can’t win a title in the NBA without at least two superstars on a team. Lillard doesn’t even have another All-Star teammate. McCollum is a terrific scorer, but he’s never made an All-Star team. It’s time for the Blazers to make a bold move this offseason and get another superstar next to Lillard.
The only issue is that there isn’t a disgruntled superstar available this offseason via free agency or trades. So unless the Blazers can acquire Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, they may have to run it back in 2021-22.