Damian Lillard Hits Another Winner To Lift Portland Past Cleveland

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
3 years ago

Last summer, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving squared off in a scrimmage at the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, with Irving getting the better of Lillard while leading his side to a 128-106 victory.

This time, it would be Lillard’s turn to come away victorious, hitting a game-winning three-pointer, his second game-winning shot in as many games, to lift the Trail Blazers to a 119-116 victory Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

“Damian had it going,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “He missed four threes and those four could have gone in, they were all right on line. He had a special night. I thought it was appropriate he finished it like that.”

After the Cavaliers tied the game at 116-116 with a little over seven seconds to play on an Anderson Varejao layup off an acrobatic drive and dish from Irving, the Trail Blazers called a timeout to draw up a play and advance the ball to midcourt. Nicolas Batum would inbound the ball to Lillard, who was matched up with lanky forward Alonzo Gee, near the halfcourt line.

Rather than driving the lane as he did for his game-winner against the Pistons on Sunday, the second-year guard would take a few dribbles before elevating for a jumper well behind the three-point line.

“I didn’t want to get into the paint too deep because I know they got some giants in there — they altered a lot of shots tonight,” said Lillard. “Alonzo Gee is a great athlete so I didn’t want to put myself in position where I couldn’t get a good look. On the perimeter I knew I could get a good look so I just gave him a move to kind of get him off balance to where he would try to get ready for me to blow by him. As soon as I seen him try to get ready and froze a little bit I just rose up.”

Lillard’s shot would find the mark as time expired, though on review, the officials put 0.4 seconds back on the clock, giving the Cavilers one last chance to send the game to overtime.  But Irving’s heave at the buzzer careened off the rim and the Trail Blazers escaped with their 22nd victory of the season.

“That’s what all great players want, the last shot,” said Irving of Lillard taking the game-winning shot. “And that’s what he did, big-time players make big-time shots. He hit one in our home, but you just have to move on to the next game.”

“I think Lillard pulled up about five feet behind the three-point line,” said Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. “That’s a tough situation to be put in. He hit some tough threes. Hindsight, you push up, push up, push up, but it’s tough in that situation. He’s a very good player and he’s more capable of dribble-driving by you and finishing. Their last game in Detroit he drove by somebody and shot a pull up (jump shot). He’s a very good player so you pick your poison.”

The reigning Rookie of the Year would set a career-high in three-pointers with eight and finished the night with 36 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and just three turnovers. He became the first player since Jason Kidd in 1995 to finish with at least 36 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and eight three-pointers.

While Lillard was on fire from the start, the Trail Blazers got impressive performances from both LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with what both he and Stotts called a “quiet” 26 points, 15 rebounds, and Joel Freeland, who pulled down seven rebounds, five on the offensive glass, in 27 minutes filling in for Robin Lopez, who played just 20 minutes due to foul trouble.

“I’m just there trying to be ready and step up when I get the opportunity,” said Freeland. “I had the opportunity tonight so I was there trying to fill his role and help the team defensively as much as I could. That’s my job. I’ve got to offensive rebound as much as I can and I try to do it to the best of my ability.”

Despite going up against a large Cleveland frontcourt which featured Andrew Bynum, Tristan Thompson and Varejao, the Trail Blazers were able to out-rebound the Cavs 56-44.

“I knew that they like to crash the boards with Varejao and Thompson and Gee and Bynum out there.,” said Lillard, who tied his career-high in rebounds. “They can really rebound the ball. I just wanted to be down there and help the bigs because I knew they had their hands full keeping those guys off the boards and there would probably be some rebounds floating around. So I just wanted to try and get as many of those that I could.”

Portland’s work on the glass, which resulted in 35 second chance points, gave them an opportunity to come away the victory despite allowing Cleveland to shoot better than 50 percent from the field for most of the game.

“I’m surprised by how important our second-chance points and our offensive rebounding is,” said Stotts. “We do a good job. LaMarcus and Joel and Robin are always active on the offensive glass. I think one of our strengths, not only our tips, but kicking it out for three’s. That’s been a big part of our offense actually is coming up with those second chance points.”

The Trail Blazers have now won five-straight and nine of their last 10. They lead the NBA in victories with 24. It is also the first time in franchise history that the Blazers have won their first 11 games against Eastern Conference opponents. Their 12-2 road record is the best in the NBA and ties a franchise-best through 14 road games.

Portland won’t have much time to celebrate, as they travel to Minneapolis tonight to take on the Timberwolves Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 PM.

“It’s the end of a road trip, it’ll be tough,” said Lillard. “We’re on another team’s floor, a good team. In the past, us playing there, we build big leads and they get back into the game, but it’s going to be a fight. We’ve got to go get some rest tonight and get focused for it.”

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VIDEO: Lillard Cuts Through Crowded Street Market In New Adidas Ad

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
16 hours ago

It’s summer time in Portland (or at least, it’s supposed to be), which means there’s no lack of street fairs, farmers markets, beerfests and art walks to attend. Anyone who frequents such events knows how hard it can be to get from Point A to Point B when there’s thousands of people in between.

But Damian Lillard has you covered. In a new adidas short entitled “Creating Clutch,” the 6-3 point guard out of Weber State traverses a busy street market in China (wearing the “PDX Carpet” colorway of the D Lillard 2, if I’m not mistaken) using an array of moves that you can incorporate into your own crowd-surfing…

Here’s what the folks at adidas have to say about the spot…

In “Creating Clutch,” Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard shows us there is no such thing as downtime if you want to be one of the best clutch players in the NBA. A crowded street market in China during his recent Summer tour became his court, the ultimate opportunity to test his creativity and put his skills to the test.

The spot is one of three released by adidas as a part of the “Here To Create” series, which includes football players chasing rabbits through the Everglades and some kind of soccer/motocross amalgam.

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Lillard, aka Dame D.O.L.L.A, To Play Crystal Ballroom July 15

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 week ago

Playing in front of capacity crowds at arenas all across country is old hat for Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. But his next performance will be in front of a different kind of crowd, at a different type of venue and in a completely different trade.

Lillard announced today on his Twitter account that he would be holding his first full-scale concert under his nom de rap Dame D.O.L.L.A on July 15th, which happens to be his 26th birthday, at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland. The show is the latest sign of Lillard’s evolution as an artist, which started in earnest with his Four Bar Friday project, which grew into a regular Music Monday feature, then a music video that aired on national television and now a show in front of a live audience.

The 6-3 point guard/rapper has performed in front of small crowds before, most recently during an Adidas-sponsored trip to Manila, but has never held a real show with advanced ticketing at a legitimate venue. Lillard will be joined onstage by his cousin Brookfield Deuce, who has been featured on a number of Dame D.O.L.L.A tracks, with DJ OG One handling duties on the ones and twos, as the kids say. Lillard is also giving some stage time to local pastor Duoshun Pledgegure, who raps under the name Rose Ciddy and is a frequent participant in Lillard’s Four Bar Friday series. And who knows, perhaps one or two of his teammates decide to test their rap skills under the bright lights.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day of the show and can be purchased at the Crystal Ballroom’s website. There are only 1,500 tickets available, so if you want to go, you’d be wise to purchase asap.   

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Lillard Talks Free Agency, Team USA and Special Olympics At His Yearly Basketball Camp

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 weeks ago

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is currently holding his annual youth basketball camp in Beaverton, and unlike some of these events put on by other players, Lillard is there actually there working with the kids every day. If you send your child to the Damian Lillard Basketball Camp, he or she is going to meet Damian Lillard.

But even though the focus is on the kids, Lillard took a few minutes to take questions from the media about the camp, his recent trip to Asia, working with Special Olympics, the upcoming free agent signing period on his involvement with recruiting and why he declined to to play for Team USA.

Damian Lillard participates in his basketball camp on June 30, 2016. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

Regarding the Damian Lillard Basketball Camp experience…

“When I get up there and speak, I tell them ‘Make sure you thank your parents, make sure you listen to the coaches, follow their instructions, be coachable, work hard.’ Just simple things like that, a lot of basic things that could teach them a lot more than how simple it is, things like that. Just being here and having a presence is the biggest thing. The session that you guys just watched, it’s something that I’ve enjoyed because it allows me to kind of break apart the game for the kids. For them it might be a little bit boring, but it’s 10 minutes of the day where they get to listen and see what’s going on, that it’s deeper than just a pass and a shot. Some of them are probably too young to follow it as well as the older ones, but I think it’s something that you can really teach them at a young age.”

Damian Lillard participates in his basketball camp on June 30, 2016. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

On his relationship with Special Olympics…

“When I was 17, when I first got on campus at Weber State, it was a mandatory thing, we did a one day camp with Special Olympics. The first day I kind of just went in there, I didn’t really know much about it. But then I saw that some of them, they wanted to play against us and they could actually play. They had as much passion with the game as I did, they really enjoyed our company. I’ll never forget, it was a random day like months after the Special Olympics event and there was a kid — I’ll never forget his name — Jason Depper. I was at the mall and he walked up to me at the mall like ‘Remember I made that shot on you?’ and I was just like ‘That’s funny.’ It had that type of impact on him. I’ve been involved ever since.”

Damian Lillard participates in his basketball camp on June 30, 2016. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

On his recent trip through Asia with adidas…

“It was fun, did some pop-ups at stores. I went to some 3-on-3 tournaments, watched a lot of kids play. They’re playing so they can all make it to Beijing and it’s like a super tournament over there right now. I did some promotion for my shoes and things like that, I went back to a store that I opened up after my rookie year in Taipei, I went back to Manila. We did a huge event there, I got to get in the three-point shootout, they let me perform a couple times over there. It was kind of on the spot performances, but I had a lot of fun.”

Damian Lillard participates in his basketball camp on June 30, 2016. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

Why he decided not to be a part of the 2016 Olympic team…

“It was simple: the last three months of the season I played with plantar fasciitis and it really bothered me. There was days the games seemed like the only time I could play, and that was adrenaline and two hours of treatment before the game. I didn’t want to go into next season dealing with it. I actually really wanted to play and I was really close to saying ‘Just forget it, I’m going to go’ but I didn’t want to go to Rio and come back a month before training camp and my foot still be bothering me, then I can’t give what I want to give to my team. That was just more important to me.”

Damian Lillard participates in his basketball camp on June 30, 2016. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

On free agency…

“I think there’s some guys out there that can really help take our team to the next level. I really like the guys we have, too. I’m a strong believer that if guys go home and get better over the summer, we come back, we’ll be that much better. We’ll continue to get better. But my job is to make sure that I’m prepared and when I’m asked about a player that can help us, I’m going to give my honest opinion. That’s my duty to our team.”

His thoughts on Portland’s free agency plan…

“I’m excited, because it’s not hard to see… Our whole roster could look at free agency and say ‘This guy could help us, this guy could help us.’ It’s just a matter of how bad they want to be here, what we have to offer compared to what they would like. We’ll see where it goes. I have no doubt that our team is going to be ready regardless of who we bring in, who we don’t bring in. We’ll come back ready.”

Whether he’s going to help recruit free agents in person…

“Maybe. Maaaaaaybe… I might. To help our team, of course.”

Regarding what he’d tell free agents who might have “red flags” about joining Portland’s locker room…

“When I speak to these guys, I’m going to tell them what it is with our team on how we do things, what will be tolerated and what won’t. If we happen to get someone that has red flags, we don’t know for sure if that’s ‘he said, she said’ or if it’s real or if it’s the situation or people around him or what. But if it comes to our culture and our individual, it will be addressed. Nobody going to back down to nobody, let somebody come in here and think something is going to change, because it’s not. That’s not just me. I’m going to be the first one to say something because that’s just what it is. I know CJ (McCollum) is going to back that up and each guy down the line is going to back that up. We show up every day to practice to work, we show up on time, we hold each other accountable, we allow our teammates to hold us accountable and that’s the bottom line. We don’t do cute stuff, we show up and do what we’ve got to do and that’s it. If you don’t want to do it, it’s not going to work.”

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