Damian Lillard is determined to keep the Blazers alive. The Portland star had one of the best games of his career to lead his team to its 23rd win of the season, a win that came at the expense of the Jazz, whom they defeated 134–124. And this use of the plural is primarily principled, because if someone was in charge of a victory that remained in the moda center, it was almost exclusively the point guard.
With 60 points, Lillard matched the third-highest of his career, second only to 61 against Golden State and Dallas in January and August 2020, respectively. Queen Therefore, he reached 60 for the fourth time in his career, establishing himself as the most explosive scorer ever. This game also saw James Harden reach that figure the most times as an active player, and tied with Michael Jordan. Also tied. Third historical situation. Further only Kobe Bryant with 6 and Wilt Chamberlain comfortably tied for first with 32 games with 60 goals or more.
The man from Portland also boasted absolute effectiveness in all aspects of the game, punishing Utah with his speed attacking the paint and his very wide shooting range. With 21/29 in field goals (9/15 in triples), he fumed the visiting defense’s attempts to slow him down, with no one seeming able to stop him from troubling and taking control of the duel. Was.
Lillard was a scoring machine all night, but it was arguably his third quarter that turned the tide. The point guard, who already had 26 points at halftime, added 24 in the third period to turn around a relatively quiet game for an Oregon team that was 16 on the scoreboard and again didn’t do much damage, despite visiting. Attempt. He didn’t stop finding ways to make hoops that allowed him to add time after time, and with a far-out triple he made it 102-86, bringing madness to a Moda Center that earned him the title of “MVP”. Couldn’t shout slogans.
“Every time you go to 60 it’s pretty special, but this time I think they came pretty easily” he commented after his performance. «I think I played like I had to play. I knew we needed a win, so I prepared to attack and be aggressive, but it wasn’t like I suddenly turned on and exploded. It wasn’t one of those nights.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Damien finished the match with 8 assists, bringing his total to 77 points, and he also managed to grab 7 rebounds and 3 steals. The point guard put in a top-notch performance thus far, as though he was supported by 19 and 16 goals scored by Jeremy Grant and Anfernie Simmons, respectively, he was solely responsible for leading the Blazers to victory.
The Jazz, for their part, offered a more balanced offense, with seven men reaching double figures, though none inspired enough to try to lift the team from Lillard’s hammer blows. Lauri Markkanen was the best in this aspect, though not entirely spectacular, with 24 points, and was followed by Colin Sexton’s 19 and Jordan Clarkson’s 18. However, nothing worked to avoid defeat on the 26th of the course, which kept them alive despite everything in the midst of a very tough fight for positions. play-in,
(Cover photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)