In the 90’s I worked at a Eugene restaurant called West Bros BBQ which had an item on the menu called “Mom’s Favorite.” It was a casserole that the West brothers grew up loving and they put it on the menu to honor their mom. It was one of those totally bad-for-you but oh-so-delicious pasta/ground beef/tomato sauce concoctions I now look at longingly and think “oh, fat and carbs, I loved you so much.”
The thing that made it the “favorite” was a rich blend of cream cheese, sour cream and shredded cheese that ran through the middle, a river of deliciousness. That addition took a good casserole and made it great.
In that spirit, each week I’m going to look at players and plays that took a good week and made it (at times) great.
Mom’s Favorite: Damian Lillard
I love all my kids equally, but sometimes one has a better week than the rest. This doesn’t take away from an eye-opening performance by Nik Stauskas and continued improvement from Zach Collins. Its just that, while I was wringing my hands wondering if the Trail Blazers were going to make the playoffs this year (and some of us might still be), Damian Lillard was apparently launching an MVP Campaign.
Lillard is currently leading the league in scoring (33.8—just ahead of Steph Curry at 33.7). The rest of his box score stats don’t pop out compared to the unicorns currently taking over the NBA, however, his field goal percentage, rebounds per game and assists per game are all up compared to last October and his turnover rate is down. For a guy who finished 4th in MVP voting last season, things are off to a good start.
But this isn’t what gets him the inaugural Mom’s Favorite award for the week. You probably know what’s coming. Damian Lillard wins for doing what a leader does: setting a great example by showing grace under fire (also known as “silencing the trolls” in NBA Twitter-speak).
When the Man in Turquoise decided to heckle him (I heard it on the broadcast too, Damian, and you’re right, it was super annoying) Lillard launched a few choice words his way and proceeded to calmly put up 34 points in the second half, shooting 12-16 with 5-8 from three and 7-7 from the free throw line. Not only did his stat line look great at the end of the night, he mixed his play with casual 3’s, zippy drives to the basket and some clever passing. Here is the play just before half that looks like it started the fire:
Lillard goes coast to coast to beat the buzzer. #RipCity— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) October 26, 2018
STREAM: https://t.co/cmLvQmagjp pic.twitter.com/IlGSM0hNEj
All that play was good and great, but the thing that made my heart swell was his interview with Brooke Olzendam after the game. “I addressed it as I should. I did it on the court.“ What a moment! What a message! The fans and the team are all on notice: talk is cheap and it’s all about what happens on the floor.
Lillard responds to heckling fan by going off in the second half.— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) October 26, 2018
"He just kept running his mouth. I told him you're gonna get them in trouble... I addressed it how I should. I did it on the court. #RipCity #PokeTheBear pic.twitter.com/oUF1F0wgAb
Welcome to Mom’s Favorites, where we’re going to relive the week in Portland Trail Blazer basketball and I get to pick my favorites! Favorite people, favorite plays, favorite tweets—all the good stuff that makes us love this team. Stay tuned later this afternoon for more honorable mentions and more favorites from the week past!
xoxo Team Mom