The Trail Blazers secured a much-needed 129-124 win over the Warriors thanks to an amazing 61-point outing from Damian Lillard. Portland’s leader was not going to be denied. Lillard recorded 40 points in the second half, pulling the Blazers through a hard-fought victory over the Warriors. Outside of Dame’s big night, Hassan Whiteside produced another solid double-double.
In an often forgettable season, Lillard’s record-breaking performance provided a positive signature moment. Here is a look back at a night that reshuffled franchise leaderboards.
Both teams exchanged jabs through the first five minutes of action, creating a back-and-forth that never stretched beyond a possession on the scoreboard. For the Warriors, who are also lacking experience in several key roles, looked to veteran Alec Burks to produce points. The former Jazz wing obliged by finding openings in the midrange. Outside of his 10 points, the Warriors struggled to establish a rhythm.
The Blazers did not suffer the same fate. Carmelo Anthony decisively worked one-on-one matchups to connect on buckets from the baseline, Gary Trent Jr. delivered sharp passes to Hassan Whiteside and Lillard supplied seven points of his own. Firing on all cylinders, the Blazers finished the quarter with a 27-23 lead on 54.2 percent shooting from the field.
The scoring fortunes swapped to start the second quarter. The Warriors exploded with a 12-0 run, leaving the Blazers in the dust. Following a quiet opening frame, D’Angelo Russell recorded 13 points in the quarter, helping Golden State push their lead to 11 points.
Portland’s play stabilized once Whiteside and Lillard returned to the floor. Whiteside halted the Warriors attack at the rim and Lillard worked through perimeter aggression to get to the free throw line. Dame went a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe in the second quarter. The momentum shifted back to the Blazers following an excellent chase-down block that was delivered by Anfernee Simons. It wasn’t pretty, but Portland clawed back within four points to finish the half. The Warriors headed to the locker room with a 57-53 lead.
The third quarter belonged to Lillard. Facing double teams from end to end, Lillard sliced and battled through pressure to score at all three levels. 21 of Portland’s 34 points in the quarter came from Lillard. When he wasn’t scoring he was pushing the pace, allowing the Blazers to stay within striking distance of a Warriors squad that faced little-to-no resistance on the other end.
Despite Lillard’s heroics, the Warriors finished the third quarter with a 92-87 advantage.
Unlike the the second quarter, the Blazers’ reserves held their own against the Warriors while Lillard rested. Once Dame was summoned off the bench, he continued to torch Golden State. Returning to the action at the 8:45 mark, Lillard quickly recorded two three-pointers and assisted on a driving bucket for Trent. That flurry of offense finally put Portland back out in front, 103-102, with just under seven minutes remaining in the quarter.
Following a timeout, the Warriors continued to fight and put together a Russell-led 7-2 run. Once again, Lillard returned to form, finding ways to generate points through pressure by working the two-man game with Whiteside. Defensively, Whiteside patrolled the paint and sent back a Russell shot with a superb rotation in the paint at just under the two-minute mark.
With Russell struggling down the stretch, Burks and Willie Cauley-Stein filled the void for Golden State. Burks continued to win one-on-one matchups for crucial baskets and Cauley-Stein mitigated Whiteside’s presence on the glass. Trailing by three points late in the game, Lillard connected on a game-tying step-back shot from distance with 15.3 seconds remaining to push the action into overtime.
Working inside the arc, the Warriors jumped out to a 6-0 run to start the extra period. Whiteside finally got the Blazers rolling, breaking a two-minute scoring drought with a put-back dunk. Simons delivered a timely three-pointer to cut the Warriors’ lead to just three points with 1:39 remaining. Simons exited the action after landing awkwardly.
Burks’ three-point conversion with 32.7 seconds left represented the Warriors’ final push to secure a thrilling victory. On the other end, Lillard headed to the line after a shooting foul was committed by Burks. Lillard converted both attempts, marking the final lead change of the night. Whiteside and Lillard would each make a trip to the free throw line prior to the finale of Portland’s 129-124 win.
Lillard re-wrote an entire page of the record book on Monday. His 61-point outburst is a new franchise and career-high mark. Like his point total, Lillard’s 11 three-pointers set new franchise and career-high marks. Headlined by Wilt Chamberlain, Lillard joined a list of just six players that have recorded multiple 60-point games. Of the players on that list, the former Weber State star is the only one listed at 6’2” or shorter. Finally, Lillard became the first player to have 60 points and double-digit triples in a single outing.
Considering the absences that both teams had, tonight’s focus is firmly on Lillard’s astonishing performance.
The Blazers return to action on Thursday when the Mavericks visit the Moda Center.