With his series-ending summer hits to eliminate the Houston Rockets in the 2014 playoffs and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2019 playoffs, Damian Lillard has not only established himself as one of the most clutch shot producers in the league, but set a pretty high standard for what that makes up a great shot.
His efforts Saturday night certainly qualified as he hit one of the wildest game winners you will ever see to lift the Portland Trail Blazers over the Chicago Bulls, 123-122. Let’s look at how it happened.
With just over 11 seconds left, Bulls point guard Coby White struck down two free throws to put the Bulls up five and apparently seal the game. Only Lillard came out of timeout and immediately hit a 3 from nearly 40 feet to make it a two-point game.
On the ensuing incoming, the Blazers caught Zach LaVine in the corner and was able to force a bounce ball before he could call timeout. The Blazers then won the bouncy ball, and after a brief distortion after the ball, Lillard got away with it and hit a fadeaway for the win.
Unreal. This look from Garrett Temple tells you everything you need to know about how the Bulls felt after that one.
Lillard finished with a high of 44 points, five rebounds and nine assists in the win. This was his third summerbeater, which is the most in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats and Info. It is also his 35th match with at least 40 points. No other player in Blazers history even has half as many.
This win ended a mini-to-game loss streak for the Blazers, improving their record this season to 10-8. It has been a tough thing in Portland with CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins all with long-term injuries, but so far they have hung in there. As it stands, they are only half a game out of fourth place this strange season, and Lillard showed once again that as long as he is around, they always have a chance.