The Portland Trail Blazers continue their fight for the post season as they got a critical 134-131 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Monday night.
The driving force behind this push is Damian Lillard. Dame who was in a bit of a row with Paul George and Patrick Beverley ( and a side of Skip Byaless) after uncharacteristically coming up short in the waning moments by missing a pair of go-ahead free throws and a game-tying three-pointer against the Clippers, has scored 112 points in the subsequent two contest, including tying his career-high with 61 points Monday night. This was Lillard’s sixth 50-plus point game of the season and he is the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to score 60 point games in a single season.
Lillard consistently got to where he wanted to on the court and seemed to score from every where- forays to the basket, three point bombs, the charity stripe and the dreaded mid-range, going 17-32 from the floor, including 9/17 from downtown and a perfect 18/18 from the free throw line.
”Ain’t nothing I want more,” Lillard said of the playoffs. ”When I came here (to Disney World) I told them I’m not here to waste my time. Our work ain’t done yet but we’re fighting for it.”
Kristaps Porzingis, who had himself a ball game, pouring in 36 points before fouling out, was very complementary of Lillard’s performance, saying this: ”Damian played incredible,” Porzingis said. ”Made some unbelievable shots. Hats off to him.”
Even with Lillard’s offensive explosion, the game was still in doubt and Dallas had a chance to take the lead late with under a minute to go but a Dorian Finney-Smith three-pointer was called off due to a questionable illegal screen on Trey Burke.
‘I don’t know what to say,” Luka Doncic said. ”They call what they see out there. Personally, on the last play, I don’t think it was an offensive foul. Especially I don’t think you call those fouls in that moment. They can make mistakes.”
Blazers head coach Terry Scott’s said Lillard has been laser focused since missing those two critical free throws against the Clippers Saturday.
‘He’s showing a lot of resolve. Nobody wanted to come into this bubble and make the playoffs more than Dame. We have one more game to go, but his leadership and his game speaks for itself. But he’s bringing the team along with him.”Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts
Should the Blazers win their Thursday game against the Brooklyn Nets they will secure a spot in the play-in series.
”We have to come out with the same mentality,” Lillard said. ”We control our own destiny. That’s the most important game of our lives.”