Friday’s game featured a powerful ceremony for those who perished in Sunday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. On the court, Damian Lillard paid respect to Kobe Bryant’s legacy with an assertive 48-point performance.
Here is a look at Lillard’s output in the Trail Blazers’ 127-119 victory:
Outside of his point total, Lillard recorded 10 assists and nine rebounds. After the game, Lillard returned the spotlight to Bryant. Lillard explained to ESPN’s Nick Friedell that the Blazers’ committed performance was the best way to honor the legacy of the Lakers legend.
“It’s tough from an emotional standpoint, but he’s worthy, more than worthy,” Lillard said of Bryant. “And that type of love and that type of respect and that type of honor that was given to him in the first game since [the accident] happened, it was only right. Compared to what his family has to deal with, his closest friends have to deal with, us having to honor him in that way and play a game is a small thing. I think for what we do in our careers, this is what we do. For him being arguably the toughest competitor to ever play the game, I felt like it was only right for us to pay our respect pregame and then go out there and honor him by competing at a higher level, and I thought both teams did that.”
Through the Blazers last five games, Lillard is averaging an astonishing 48.4 points per game.