Damian Lillard put on a show Sunday evening at the Staples Center during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. The Trail Blazers guard scored 21 points on 9-14 shooting for the game, tying DeMar DeRozan for the most on Team Stephen. The achievement got plenty of national notice. Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni and Jeremy Woo, who ranked every player’s performance in the game, took notice of his impressive outing:
“Lillard played this game like Curry should have. Dame deserved to be on the court down the stretch, finishing with 21 points as his teammates closed out the game. Lillard wasn’t afraid to pull up from deep and I’m curious how hot he could’ve gotten with a little more playing time.
The playing time controversy has garnered nearly as much national attention as the 21-point performance. Lillard had seven points in a two-minute span in the fourth quarter. His jumper with 6:57 remaining in the game put Team Stephen up 133-120, Coach Mike D’Antoni pulled him at the 6:36 mark. Team LeBron came back for a 148-145 victory. Though Lillard’s teammates Stephen Curry and James Harden went just 9-33 from the field for the game combined, both were on the court for the game’s final six and a half minutes.