Lillard Crashes Talkin Ball Set After Career Night
Wesley Matthews Postgame
Oakland, Calif. – It was a homecoming event for Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and unfortunately for him, he showed up to tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors all alone.
The favorite to take home this season's Rookie of the Year award put on a performance for the ages. Lillard poured in 29 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and almost single-handedly brought the Trail Blazers back from a 20-point deficit.
In the end, the Warriors held on to win 103-97 at Oracle Arena.
Lillard became the fourth rookie in NBA history to record 37 points and seven threes in a game. The others are Jason Kidd, Brandon Jennings, and Rodrigue Beaubois.
“It's bitter sweet because everything I did was for us to help us win the game,” Lillard said. “I got caught up in competing and trying to win the game. It was bitter sweet.”
Although this loss ends a four-game winning streak the Trail Blazers had going, there was still time to reflect on what we all witnessed tonight.
“I've been around awhile,” Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts said. “I've seen Ray Allen go off and Dirk [Nowitzki] go off. I haven't seen a rookie go off, that's for sure. But 29 in a half? I don't know if I've seen 29 in a half in person. It was a special performance.”
LaMarcus Aldridge was 3-for-13 from the floor and admitted he had nothing left tonight after that emotional win against Miami the night before. He says the only thing he could do was be a fan of Lillard.
“I had nothing,” Aldridge said. “I was just sitting back and being a fan of Dame. The last time I've seen a rookie do something like that in person was when Brandon [Roy] was here, but I was a rookie and it didn't hit me. Tonight, I took it all in and just wanted to get him the ball.”
The Trail Blazers (20-16) were playing their second game of a back-to-back and it showed in their shooting percentage (38 percent). The Trail Blazers barely surpassed their season-low of 15 second-quarter points with 16 and their season-low of 33 points in the first half by scoring 35.
Batum had 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Hickson contributed seven points on 2-for-5 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. Wesley Matthews added 10 points on 3-for-15 from the floor.
Aside from Lillard, the Trail Blazers starters were a combined 13-for-45 from the field. Was it fatigue all around?
“I don't like conceding to fatigue, but I think there was little mental and physical fatigue,” Stotts said. “I tried to rest guys the first half and they had enough energy in the second half to sustain a pretty good rally.” Coming off the Miami games, it was an emotional situation and back-to-backs are part of the game. I'm not going to deny, fatigue was part of it, but I don't want to concede that it was all of it.”
David Lee led the Warriors (23-12) with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Stephen Curry had 22 points and 12 assist.
It goes without saying that the Trail Blazers certainly have themselves a franchise point guard. In the last two months, the city of Portland has come to know that and now his own city got the memo.
“It was great to be back and be able to play in front of my family and friends,” Lillard said. “They gave me so much motivation. It just would have been better if we could have gotten the win.”