Sunday was a banner night for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who scored a career-high 71 points against the Houston Rockets. That benchmark has only been reached eight times in NBA history and represents a franchise-high for Portland.
But although ‘Dame Time’ lasted four quarters last night, the revelry that followed was outside Lillard’s area of expertise. Lillard told reporters after the game that he’s never quite comfortable in those moments.
When a game is happening, I’m playing the game. I’m going to take them out, so when it’s happening in a game I usually embrace it. I enjoy those moments in the game when I’m just going after people and I’m in attack mode. I think any hooper enjoys those moments when you hot, you in attack mode, you feeling good. But it’s the stuff afterward that I struggle with. When I walked off the court I was like, ‘Am I supposed to be overly excited or what?’ You know what I mean? I just high-fived everybody, but those are the moments I struggle with. But, I mean, that was it. It’s funny you said that, because when we walked in the locker room I was just like, ‘I don’t even want to hold this paper up,’ I already know people expecting it. But usually when I had those types of games or when I got my career high in the past, Jim Taylor (former VP of Basketball Communications) would always make me do it, so I was like, ‘Man I’ma do it for Jim Taylor.’ I sat there and did it and, you know, that was that. I live for the moments where I’m taking over and dominating games but I don’t live for the stuff that comes afterwards.
A historic night for Damian Lillard— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 27, 2023
Lillard outscored the Rockets’ starters 71 to 67 but remains the humble superstar we’ve come to know over the years. It’s not about the celebration; it’s about winning, and it always has been.