While many were perplexed by the process that lead to Luka Doncic being named an All-Star starter over the Portland Trail Blazers’ own Damian Lillard, the announcement that Lillard had been named to the All-Star reserves put that topic (mostly) to rest. With the reserves in place, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com notes one key attribute Lillard brings to his potential All-Star team ahead of the draft: his clutch shooting.
1. Finally, it’s Dame Time: Damian Lillard got bumped from the All-Star starting lineup for the Western Conference by a technicality: Because Dallas’ Luka Doncic outpolled the Portland point guard in fan balloting, it didn’t matter that Lillard fared better than Doncic with the players and the media panel who combined for the other 50% of the vote. The tiebreaker was the fans’ choice, even though Doncic himself wasn’t so sure about the outcome (“Maybe Lillard deserved it more than me,” the Mavericks star said).
The coaches cleaned that up. Beyond Lillard’s overall production — 29.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7.9 apg, 62.0 true shooting percentage — there was no way those West bench bosses could ignore Lillard’s four consecutive games starting on Valentine’s Day of at least 30 points, 10 assists and five 3-pointers. He also ranks second in the NBA in clutch points (82), shooting 61.5% and leading Portland to a 12-4 mark in such situations (when the score is within five points in the final five minutes).
Aschburner also notes that in the selection of the reserves, it appeared winning mattered — except for Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Interesting.