With 61 points, he became the first player in Portland franchise history with back-to-back 50 point games. Lillard also joined an exclusive club as only 11 other players have accomplished this feat in league history.
With an opportunity for the Trail Blazers to take sole possession of the Western Conference eighth seed, Lillard did not disappoint. He dropped in 61 points, shooting 9-for-17 from deep and a perfect 18-for-18 from the free-throw line.
While this performance was historic, Lillard was all business in his postgame interview with TNT. “I told you before, I didn’t come here to waste my time. Our work isn’t done yet,” said Lillard.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 12, 2020
Portland’s offense centered around Lillard the entire night, however, Carmelo Anthony finished with 26 points. Anthony shot 10-for-17 from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point range. CJ McCollum was quiet after a tough shooting night, just 2-for-14 from the field. McCollum knocked down two free-throws to ice Portland’s win.
This game felt like a track meet as every Dallas starter notched double digits.
Kristaps Porzingis led the way for Dallas with 36 points. He was unconscious from deep, shooting 7-for-9. The Mavericks’ other star, Luka Doncic, survived a relatively slow start. He scored only 13 points in the first half but finished with 25 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped in 24 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
Both squads shot incredibly well from deep and the charity stripe. Dallas held the advantage in both, as the Mavericks sank 20-for-44 from deep and got to the free-throw line 33 times, making 27. On the other end, Portland was 15-for-38 from three-point range and 27-for-29 at the stripe.
At times it seemed both teams were lost defensively in this game, likely a result of such unconscious shooting. Ultimately Portland’s defense prevailed as the Trail Blazers forced Dallas into 17 turnovers. Dallas only forced eight turnovers.
Portland also out-rebounded Dallas, 48-37.
The Trail Blazers controlled this game in the first half, ending the first quarter on a 15-0 run to lead 38-31. Dallas wouldn’t regain the lead until a 10-0 run late in the third quarter.
Both sides continued to trade buckets in the final frame. With 1:52 left in regulation, Porzingis gave Dallas a 130-127 lead. On the following possession, Lillard hit an incredible three-pointer that hit the back of the rim and bounced more than 10 feet in the air. It safely dropped through.
Damian Lillard 🔥
1st @Trailblazers with back-to-back 50-Point games & his 3rd 60-Point game this season!
61 PTS, 8 AST (17/32 FG)
61 PTS, 7 AST (17/37 FG)
60 PTS, 5 AST (19/33 FG)pic.twitter.com/hISVbCgK4t
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 12, 2020
Porzingis then fouled out with an offensive foul. This gave Portland possession with 1:18 left to play, the game tied at 130.
On the next possession, Dallas intentionally fouled McCollum, who drained both free-throws to ice the game.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday. The Mavericks take on the Phoenix Suns, who are 7-0 in the bubble and fighting for a playoff spot, at 4 pm ET on TNT. Portland controls their own playoffs destiny and takes on the Brooklyn Nets at 9 pm ET on TNT.
Following Portland’s victory, the race for the Western Conference play-in game is officially coming down to the wire. Four teams remain in the race for the eighth and ninth spots: Portland, the 7-0 Suns, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Despite all four teams staying in the hunt and giving fans four meaningful games on Thursday, there was one big change in this race. Memphis has held sole possession of the eighth seed since January 23rd. With the win, Portland leapfrogs Memphis for this spot.
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