The celebration surrounding Damian Lillard’s record-breaking efficiency was short-lived.
Lillard set franchise and profession marks with 71 factors — tied for essentially the most within the NBA this season — and 13 3-pointers within the Portland Trail Blazers’ 131 -114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening.
“I get pleasure from these moments within the recreation when I’m simply going after folks,” Lillard stated, “when I’m in assault mode.”
But quickly after the streamers fell to the court docket and the group headed for the exits, Lillard was summoned for a drug check. Turns out, the seven-time all-star who’s unafraid of taking a three-pointer from half court docket is afraid of needles.
“I do know I’ve received loads of tattoos, however whenever you’re doing a blood draw, it is completely different from tattoos. It introduced me down from right here to the ground,” Lillard stated gesturing along with his hand raised then dropping it.
And Lillard received examined on the evening he tied Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell for essentially the most factors in a recreation this season after Mitchell additionally scored 71 in a win over Chicago on Jan. 2. His 13 three-pointers have been additionally one shy of the NBA file set by Golden State’s Klay Thompson in 2018. Thompson’s Warriors teammate Stephen Curry (2016) and Chicago’s Zach LaVine (2019) additionally made 13 threes.
Lillard broke his personal franchise mark of 61 factors, which he’d finished twice, on a three-pointer with 4:42 left that additionally topped his earlier profession file for threes, which was 11.
2nd-most 3PM in a recreation in NBA historical past (13)<br>eighth participant to attain 70+ PTS in a single recreation (71)<br>The first participant in NBA historical past with 70+ PTS, 5+ REB, 5+ AST and 10+ 3PM in a single recreation…<br><br>What an evening for Damian Lillard 🔥 <a href=”https://t.co/8MMHxePNUu”>pic.twitter.com/8MMHxePNUu</a>
Known for his humility, Lillard was not sure easy methods to mark the event.
“I believe any hooper enjoys these moments whenever you’re sizzling, you are in assault mode, you are feeling good,” Lillard stated. “But it is the stuff afterward that I battle with, like after I walked off the court docket, was I speculated to be overly excited, or what?”
In the ultimate minutes of the sport, the group on the Moda Center was on its toes, telephones recording the second, whereas chanting “MVP! MVP!”
“It actually, actually was a masterful efficiency,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups stated. “It was a chunk of artwork. That was unimaginable.”
Even Mitchell took discover.
“My mother calls me and says Damian Lillard tied your file… you gotta get 72 now,” Mitchell posted on Twitter with some laughing emojis.
My mother calls me and says <a href=”https://twitter.com/Dame_Lillard?ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>@Dame_Lillard</a> tied your file… you gotta get 72 now😂😂😂
Lillard left the sport with 44 seconds left, tied with Mitchell, Elgin Baylor (1960) and David Robinson (1994) for the eighth-most factors scored in a recreation in NBA historical past. Wilt Chamberlain owns the league file with 100 for Philadelphia in opposition to New York on March 2, 1962, at Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Lillard had 41 factors and eight three-pointers by halftime. It was a profession excessive in a half for Lillard and essentially the most factors in a half for any participant within the league this season. He had 50 by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
In the tip, he made 22 of 38 pictures from the ground and he hit on 13 of his 22 3-point makes an attempt. He was additionally 14 of 14 from the foul line.
Jerami Grant added 13 factors for the Blazers, who led by as many as 23. Portland is a part of a cluster of eight Western Conference simply 4 wins aside which can be vying for playoff spots.
Alperen Sengun had 17 factors and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, sitting in final place within the Western Conference with simply 13 general wins and 9 straight losses.
“It’s not like we did not give effort, he made some actually powerful pictures,” stated Rockets coach Stephen Silas, who sat Sengun halfway via the third quarter for the remainder of the sport. “But we’d like everybody to present effort on the defensive finish.”
Houston trailed 102-88 heading into the ultimate quarter, however scored the primary six factors of the interval to shut the hole to 102-94. Grant’s three-pointer for Portland prolonged the margin to 108-98.
Lillard’s three, his eleventh of the evening to tie his profession excessive, made it 113-103 with 6:43 left. He added a driving layup and a free throw. Houston couldn’t catch up.
Lillard began after resting for Thursday evening’s 133-116 loss to Sacramento. He participated within the NBA All-Star Game and gained the three-point contest the earlier weekend.
The Blazers led 73-58 on the break with Lillard the tenth participant for the reason that 1996-97 season with 40-plus factors in a half. He has 15 video games with 50 or extra factors, sixth-most in NBA historical past.