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Damian Lillard's 51 destroys the Warriors in Portland

544   //    20 Feb 2016, 17:09 IST
Lillard was excellent against Golden State
Lillard was excellent against Golden State

The Portland Trailblazers handed the Golden State Warriors their 5th loss of the season (137-105) and made sure that it’s a loss to remember.  Damian Lillard scored a career-high 51 points against one of the best defensive teams and the reigning NBA champions on a night where the Warriors had no excuse.

Curry put up his usual 31 points and Thompson got a respectable 23 points but they were no match for the closest duo to the splash brothers; C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard.

Lillard was the biggest snub for the 2016 All-Star game for the second year in a row and he definitely wasn’t happy about it. The 6’3” point guard has been the primary reason that the Trailblazers are an above .500 team and in the Playoff race. Ever since LaMarcus Aldridge left Portland to join the Spurs, Portland had little hope to be a contender team. Lillard, however, has grown as a player and has assumed the leadership role for his young team.

Every man is motivated by different factors; Damian Lillard wanted to prove the league wrong about not inviting him to Toronto last weekend and he did that by handing the mighty Warriors their worst loss since February 2013. Lillard takes pride in looking at the people who underestimate him in the eye and showing them what he’s made up of. Before the game began, Lillard fired up his squad in the huddle saying that no one expected them to win this game and that’s why they should prove the people wrong.

Lillard on fire against the Warriors 

If you thought that Steph Curry was the only guy who didn’t care about his distance from the hoop, you probably didn’t catch last night’s match. Lillard was getting anything he wanted; no matter where he was or who was guarding him. He shot 9 of the 12 shots he took from beyond the arc and halfway along the 4th quarter, the game seemed unfair.

Lillard gave the Warriors a taste of their own medicine when he went berserk and shot three back-to-back threes on consecutive offensive plays (one of them being from beyond 40 feet). He couldn’t miss and the Warriors had to foul him on his 4th consecutive 3-ball attempt to try and douse his fire.

Lillard made a huge statement to the whole league by shaming the best team in the NBA. He became the first player in NBA history to have at least 50 points, seven assists and six steals since the ‘steal’ became an official statistic in 1973-74. He also became the first player since Reggie Miller in 1992 to have 50 points and seven assists without any turnovers.

The Portland Trailblazers currently hold the 7th seed in the Western Conference being just half a game behind the Dallas Mavericks for the 6th seed. We don’t consider them as contenders among teams like the Spurs, Cavaliers or even the Thunder, but if Lillard has this level of motivation all along, all bets are off.

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