Damian Lillard has been nothing short of sensational, leading the Blazers to their first 3-0 start since 2011-12. Meanwhile Jayson Tatum has the Celtics positioned with an identical record atop the Eastern Conference, including two crucial road victories.
TNT Sideline Reporter Chris Haynes broke the news via twitter:
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum named Players of the Week for their respective conferences.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 24, 2022
Lillard put together masterful 41 point performances in back-to-back two-point wins. He iced the Phoenix Suns in signature Dame Time fashion down the stretch, before putting away the Los Angeles Lakers two nights later.
Over the duration of Lillard’s career, when he’s scored 40 or more points, Portland is 29-12.
While early, Lillard is one of only three players – including Tatum – to be averaging 34 points or better. He is doing so on 47 percent shooting from the field and 92.9 percent from the line – second to only Luka Doncic among all players averaging nine or more attempts per game.
Lillard has also been a leader and facilitator of team camaraderie. He recently shared adulatory remarks about teammate Josh Hart. On the floor, when it matters, he’s exhibited his classic, mild-mannered form of leadership that has been evident in the win column.
One aspect of play for Lillard to be mindful of are turnovers. He currently leads the league with Bradley Beal and De’Aaron Fox, at 4.7 per game. Albeit high usage, he’ll look to get that number to under four a game if Portland’s winning ways are to be sustainable.
Jayson Tatum has dominated all competition so far, as he leads the league in scoring at 34.7 points per game. He’s doing so on an uber efficient 58.7 percent shooting from the floor, with a double-double to his resume. The last Celtic to average 25 points per game or better, on or over 50 percent shooting from the field, was Larry Bird in 1987-88.
Lillard aims to keep his high level of play up as the Blazers have three matchups this coming week, with two of those coming against playoff teams from a year ago.