Damian Lillard followed up last year’s 21-point outburst by scoring 18 in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Blazers star survived a slow start to help Team LeBron overcome a double-digit deficit to beat Team Giannis. Appearing in his fourth All-Star Game since being selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Lillard produced another strong performance from beyond the arc. All of Lillard’s 17 attempts were three-pointers, and his heroics in the third quarter gave Team LeBron the push it needed to capture the victory.
Lillard’s night started at the the 6:46 mark with Team Giannis ahead by a modest two points. Team LeBron quickly fell into a hole thanks to Khris Middleton’s red-hot shooting from beyond the arc. Lillard attempted to answer Middleton’s explosion with some three-point shooting of his own. The results weren’t pretty for the Blazers guard. After three consecutive misses and a failed alley-oop pass, Lillard finally found the bottom of the net on a 26-footer with 43.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter. On his next trip down the floor, Lillard delivered a pass to Anthony Davis that resulted in three-pointer for the Pelicans big fella.
Here is a look at Lillard’s first bucket:
Our guy gets on the board with a triple #DamianLillard #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/T0zSnaayKA— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 18, 2019
Lillard’s next time on the court featured the same game plan, but achieved much better results. Working exclusively from beyond the arc, Dame went 2-3 on his three-point attempts in the second quarter.
In typical Lillard fashion, he connected on this three-pointer from well beyond the line.
There's the 3-point line & then there's @dame_lillard's 3-point line.#DamianLillard #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/Ih1s6h9qP1— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 18, 2019
Along with his own offense, Lillard found LeBron cutting through the paint for this highlight-worthy finish.
LeBron getting in on the action! #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/y2r6lOpPJw— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 18, 2019
Team LeBron entered the locker room trailing by 13, but Lillard finished the half with nine points in 11 minutes of action.
Down by double-digits, Lillard’s third shift featured unbelievable three-point shooting from every member of Team LeBron. Thanks to the open space created by soft defense, Lillard continued to feast on favorable looks from beyond the arc. After setting up teammate Klay Thompson on two conversions, Lillard connected on two three-pointers of his own. Despite taking the court down by 19 midway through the third quarter, both of Dame’s shots leveled the score.
Here is a look at Lillard’s first game-tying shot from the logo.
TIE GAME! #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/cWaoFnaPFN— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 18, 2019
Dame’s hot shooting triggered this reaction from Team LeBron’s bench.
Pictured: Bench going crazy— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 18, 2019
Cause: #DamianLillard #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/A4jwBrLNtl
Thanks to his expert work from distance, Lillard produced nine points in the third quarter alone—matching his first half output.
The Secret Is Out
Lillard opened the floodgates for Team LeBron in the third quarter and garnered the attention of Team Giannis’ defense in the process. After attempting 15 shots in the first three quarters, Lillard recorded just two shots in the final period.
Despite an anti-climatic finish, Lillard still earned a post-game interview after producing 18 points for the winning team. Outside of his scoring, Lillard nabbed six rebounds and finished with five assists in 25 minutes.
Lillard and the Blazers return to action on Thursday with a trip to Brooklyn to face the Nets.