Enes Kanter remains in USA on "Red Notice"... but what does that mean?

Enes Kanter remains in USA on "Red Notice"... but what does that mean?

Enes Kanter lives his life a little differently these days. 

The newest member of the Portland Trail Blazers center announced Wednesday he would not travel with his team to Toronto for Friday’s game against the Raptors because he fears that he’ll be arrested if he leaves the country. 

Why?

According to Kanter, the Turkish government reportedly requested an INTERPOL "Red Notice" for the NBA star in January for his alleged ties to exiled U.S. based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Kanter has openly supported. (More on that in a moment.)

"A month ago, the Turkish government put my name on Interpol,” Kanter told NBCS Northwest on Wednesday. “They’re looking for a 'Red Notice', so it’s pretty crazy.”

His denounciation of the current Turkish leadership has been well documented.

Kanter, a native to Turkey, is a vocal critic of Turkish Recep Tayip Erdogan, the country’s president. Erdogan has accused Gülen, who the Turkish government has branded a terrorist organization known as FETO, of plotting a failed coup attempt in 2016. Gülen has vehemently denied these accusations.

Because Kanter is an avid supporter of Gülen with an alleged connection to the Muslim cleric, the Turkish government wants him arrested on charges of supporting a terrorist organization.

Kanter has denounced the Turkish government’s claims, saying the country has yet to produce a “single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing.” 

So, what is INTERPOL and what is a "Red Notice," exactly?

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 194 member countries, according to its official website.

Our role is to enable police around the world to work together to make the world a safer place. 

According to the INTERPOL site, a "Red Notice" is used to locate and “provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition.” The purpose of the "Red Notice" is to inform other countries that a person is wanted based on an arrest warrant. That person, however, is considered innocent until proven guilty. As well, just because a country requests a "Red Notice" does not necessarily guarantee one would be issued.

When conducting a search of INTERPOL's database for current "Red Notices" against Kanter, none are publicly available at this time. A "Red Notice" may be issued for Kanter, but that information would only be available to authorized entites to view and verify. 

The General Secretariat, the internal INTERPOL agency that handles such requests, can refuse to publish a notice if it is considered unadvisable or a potential risk. 

Kanter's long history with law enforcement 

What is going on with Kanter is nothing new. In 2017, he was stopped and detained at an airport in Romania after his passport had been canceled by the Turkish government.

The NBA, State Department and Oklahoma senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford all worked on Kanter’s behalf to get him back to the U.S. He was able to fly to London and then to New York City and was able to enter the country by showing his green card to Homeland Security personnel.

“The 'Red Notice' came a little bit after that,” Kanter told The Daily Beast in a Nov. 2018 article.

On Jan. 17 of this year, Kanter, who was then a member of the New York Knicks, chose not to travel with his team to London to play the Washington Wizards, citing potential dangers on his life. "There's a chance that I can get killed out there," he told reporters. "They've got a lot of spies there. I can get killed very easy. That will be a very ugly situation."  

Kanter, who has found sanctuary in the USA, HAS left the country, however. He has made three trips with NBA teams to Toronto since the attempted coup d'état of the Turkish regime in 2016, most recently as Nov. 10, 2018 when he was a member of the NY Knicks.

It's not immediately clear whether there is renewed pressure/notice with new charges by the Turkish government or a continuation of the same, but Kanter and the Trail Blazers are being cautious. Rightfully so.

Kanter could become a U.S. citizen in 2021. Under U.S. immigration law, Kanter is eligible to become naturalized citizen upon completion of five years as a permanent resident. Additionally, he would need to pass a background check and pass an English and civics test. Finally, Kanter would need to interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials and receive a favorable review.

Kanter said it’s disappointing that he can’t be with the Trail Blazers as they travel to Toronto. Portland is riding a five-game winning streak heading into Friday’s matchup. 

“Just because of one dictator, I can’t even go out there and do my job,” Kanter said. “It’s definitely sad…I just want to keep growing with this team.” 

The Trail Blazers center will remain in Boston before joining Portland in Charlotte on Sunday game against the Hornets. 

----

Peter Socotch contributed to the research and writing of this report.

Eye on the Eight: How the Blazers can get the 8th seed, 9th seed, or be eliminated

Eye on the Eight: How the Blazers can get the 8th seed, 9th seed, or be eliminated

For the NBA, the race for the eighth seed could not have gone better.

Heading into the final day of seeding games, four teams are within a half-game of each other for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

8. Portland Trail Blazers | Remaining schedule: Brooklyn (Win Percentage: 0.465)

9. Memphis Grizzlies (0.5 games behind)| Remaining Schedule: Milwaukee (Win Percentage: 0.458)

10. Phoenix Suns (0.5 games behind)| Remaining schedule: Dallas (Win Percentage: 0.458)

11. San Antonio Spurs (0.5 games behind)| Remaining schedule: Utah (Win Percentage: 0.457)

Due to the season's suspension, not all teams played the same number of games so the first tiebreaker is win percentage which favors Portland in each matchup.

Then, it will go to head-to-head record, followed by division record if in the same division, then conference record, then conference record against playoff teams, then record against playoff teams in the East, and then net rating.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Play-in games are a guarantee for the eighth seed in the West since the nine seed will definitely finish within four games of the eighth seed. The eighth and ninth seeds in the West will face off on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT. If the eighth seed wins then they will advance to the first round of the playoffs to face the Los Angeles Lakers. If the ninth seed wins on Saturday, then the two teams will have a rematch on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PT where the winner will advance to the postseason.

Here's what needs to happen for each team in the race for the eighth seed on Thursday to get the eighth seed, the ninth seed, or be eliminated. 

Portland will be seeded:

  • #8 if Blazers win OR Grizzlies, Suns and Spurs lose
  • #9 if Blazers lose and loss by any two of Grizzlies, Suns or Spurs
  • ELIMINATED if Blazers lose and wins by any two of Grizzlies, Suns or Spurs

Memphis will be seeded:

  • #8 if Grizzlies win and Blazers lose
  • #9 if Grizzlies win and Blazers win OR Grizzlies, Suns and Spurs all lose
  • ELIMINATED if Grizzlies lose and wins by either Suns or Spurs

Phoenix will be seeded:

  • #8 if Suns win and Blazers and Grizzlies both lose
  • #9 if Suns win and Blazers or Grizzlies lose
  • ELIMINATED if Suns lose

San Antonio will be seeded:

  • #8 if Spurs win and Blazers, Grizzlies and Suns all lose
  • #9 if Spurs win and loss by any two of Blazers, Grizzlies and Suns
  • ELIMINATED if Spurs lose

With four teams all playing one final seeding game on Thursday, there are 16 potential different outcomes of the four games. In nine of them, the Blazers are the eighth seed. In three of them, they are the ninth seed and in another three they are the tenth seed. Then, in one scenario they are the eleventh seed. 

Full playoff scenarios of who will play who can be found here depending on how each team wins.

[RELATED]: Breaking down NBA playoff scenarios for the 8th Seed in the Western Conference

Play-in games schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m. PT

Game 2 (if necessary): Sunday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m. PT 

More information on the nature of CJ McCollum's back injury

More information on the nature of CJ McCollum's back injury

Some further information about the back injury -- L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) -- that is affecting the Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum:

One of the bright spots about this type of fracture is that it is unlikely to jeopardize the stability of the spine or affect the spinal cord, since the core part of the vertebrae remains unaffected.

[RELATED: Injured or not, Damian Lillard believes in CJ McCollum]

NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo and Cam Newton have suffered similar injuries, with Newton’s coming in a car accident. A more advanced description of the injury:

A transverse process is a bony protrusion from the back of a vertebrae bone in the spine. There is one on each side of every vertebra in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

Symptoms include sudden pain in the back at the time of injury. There will be a decreased range of motion of the affected area of the spine and pain when trying to bend or twist the affected area. In particular, there may be tenderness and swelling around the site of the fracture.

A transverse process fracture is quite a rare injury. It usually results from a sudden extreme twisting or side bending movement. Occasionally it may be due to a direct impact to the process itself, although they are pretty well covered by muscle, so this is not common.

McCollum apparently suffered the injury last week but has not been listed on the team's injury report for any of the last three games. That could be taken to mean that there was never a doubt he would play in any of them. But from this information, it's pretty certain he is playing in a great deal of discomfort.

Damian Lillard believes his late cousin, Chef B, is looking after him

Damian Lillard believes his late cousin, Chef B, is looking after him

The tragic news came in early May of this year, during Portland’s Stay at Home Order, when Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard found out that his cousin had passed away.  

Lillard announced the passing of Brandon Johnson, better known as Chef B, on his Instagram on May 2, 2020.

As the Trail Blazers point guard has found ways to cope with his cousin's death, he also knows that his former personal chef, good friend and family member is still with him.

And on Aug. 11, 2020, Lillard believed his beloved cousin made an appearance to help knock in what looked like the best and craziest shooter’s touch of a long three-pointer.

When I let it go I shot it real straight. I was like ‘Well that’s on line’ and I thought it was gonna go in, so when it hit back rim and went straight up -- I kept watching because I was like ‘I think that that’s gonna go in,’ and it dropped in. I think that was my cousin, rest in peace Chef B -- I think that was him dropping that in for me. – Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard

Johnson served as the personal chef to Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and former Trail Blazers forward Evan Turner.  

Lillard and McCollum have shared many moments together after the passing of Chef B.

Lillard explained after Tuesday's win over Dallas that during that difficult time of finding out his cousin had passed away, McCollum and Lillard cried together. 

“He passed during the quarantine in Portland,” Lillard said postgame. “He was going to be coming to my house to make breakfast and passed out and we was all worried so I just went over to see what was going on and when I got there he had just passed. I was able to get there and say my goodbyes. He jut laid there and they kinda put him in a peaceful place… We prayed over his body and said our goodbyes. CJ came, he was tight with CJ as well. Me and CJ, we cried together you know what I’m saying? And that’s also part of our brotherhood. All it done, the quarantine, even at the end of the season when we were pushing to get into the playoffs, you know, he was the one person I was with everyday”.

And now we know Chef B is still with Lillard in Orlando.

That insane three-pointer with a little help from Chef B in the Blazers’ 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks, marked Lillard’s 61st point of the game, tying his career-high, which in turn helped his team take sole possession of the No. 8 seed out West.

As the Blazers make their final push for the playoffs, Lillard continues to keep his cousin’s words with him.

“He was encouraging me, ‘Cuz you gotta eat healthy foods, you gotta make sure you get this in, make sure you get breakfast before you leave, make sure you stay hydrated -- I brought some waters in here, take these waters to the room.’ He was just the person that was on top of a lot of things for me and wore a lot of hats for me. In the summertime when I go to Utah for three weeks too train at school, when I go to Phoenix to train for weeks he was [my] right hand man. Everything I needed -- he did for me basically. Losing him it hurt. He was my first cousin that was that close to me that passed away. So it was tough and I just try to continue what I feel he would want me to do, and I’ve just been dealing with it that way, just try to continue on the path that I know he was proud of.

After scoring 61 points for the second time this season, there’s no doubt Lillard has made Chef B and all of Rip City proud. 

 

Injured or not, Damian Lillard believes in CJ McCollum

Injured or not, Damian Lillard believes in CJ McCollum

It wasn’t talked about-- Because CJ McCollum doesn’t want to use playing through pain as an excuse in the NBA restart.

But, now we know that McCollum, who has averaged just 12 points in Portland’s last two seeding games and went 2-for-14 from the field Tuesday night, is playing through some serious pain.

Sources told NBC Sports Northwest prior to Tuesday's game that McCollum has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) since last Thursday. In layman's terms, he has a fracture in his lower back. He has played three games since the injury.

 

Despite McCollum’s rough shooting night against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday and his injured back, the Trail Blazers starting shooting guard hit two clutch free throws to put the Blazers up three with 3.9 seconds to go. 

Damian Lillard had all the confidence in the world that McCollum would have ice in his veins at the charity stripe late in Tuesday’s game. But that's because Lillard always has confidence in his backcourt mate, no matter what.

One thing that is a part of our relationship and something that makes us have so much belief in each other is -- he knows that I have unwavering confidence [in him] and I know the same thing about him. I know his heart. I know his toughness. I know who he is as a man. -- Trail Blazers Damian Lillard

Lillard’s confidence and appreciation for McCollum playing through pain when the Blazers need him as they make their final playoff push is yet another layer of the duo’s special relationship. 

He’s a little bit banged up. He’s making no excuses or looking for no way out. He’s thuggin' it out for the team and being out there for us, and fortunate for us, him doing that meant he was out there for those last free throws and came through for us. -- Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard on CJ McCollum

Following McCollum’s free throws to push the Blazers lead to 134-131, which would eventually be the final, the win helped propel the Blazers into taking sole possession of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

Lillard who took responsibility for last Saturday’s loss after missing two free throws with 18.6 seconds to play against the Clippers and his team down by a point and the game on the line, so there was no surprise here – Lillard wanted a chance to drain the final free throws of Tuesday’s game. 

But he knew if it wasn’t himself heading to the line, he wanted his next best choice: CJ McCollum.

“In that situation I was like, it’s my opportunity to make up for the free throws last time, so I’m going to try to break to the ball,” Lillard said. “But I saw how they set up their defense and they was gonna try to deny me, and I went up to [CJ] before the referee handed the ball over and I said, ‘if I can’t get the ball, you have to get the ball' and he did that and he made the free throws. I don’t expect anything different from him.”  

And clearly, McCollum expects a lot of himself to play through a fractured back. And not only play through it, but also still average 39 minutes per game with the injury.

To Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony, McCollum’s ability to continue to fight through the injury, has Melo dubbing McCollum as a true warrior.  

“CJ’s a warrior. We know he’s a little banged up. We know he’s out there also giving everything that he got and he’s in the fight with us. He’s there. We appreciate every little thing that he’s capable of giving us at this moment until he get his situation right. So, we’ve just got to rally with him, help him through it… He’s shown a different type of toughness right now.”

It’s a toughness that only the Blazers knew about for the past four days, but really, it’s a toughness or even more so, a determination and testament to not let his teammates down that McCollum has had his entire career, just ask Lillard.    

Move over, Wilt Chamberlain -- make room for Damian Lillard in 60-point club

Move over, Wilt Chamberlain -- make room for Damian Lillard in 60-point club

Carmelo Anthony stepped up, but what else would you expect from a guy headed for the Hall of Fame? CJ McCollum, in the throes of a brutal shooting night, while dealing with a broken bone in his back, made two clutch free throws at the end.

But it was all Damian Lillard again. And again, And again.

Sixty-one points, he scored. That was 10 more than he got Sunday in a narrow win over Philadelphia.

Over and over, Lillard kept his Trail Blazers in the game against the Dallas Mavericks, hitting shot after shot -- the tremendous pressure of yet another must-win game seemingly not affecting him in the slightest. The result was a 134-131 win over the Mavericks that put the Trail Blazes in the driver’s seat for the West's No. 8 seed and the prime spot in the play-in game(s).

We’ve seen this Damian Lillard before. In big games. But it doesn’t get older, it gets better.

“He’s showing a lot of resolve,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “Nobody wanted to come into this bubble and make the playoffs more than Dame. We’ve got one more game to go, but his leadership, obviously his game speaks for itself, but he’s bringing the team along with him."
Stotts was asked how this one ranked among Lillard's great performances.

“The magnitude of this game, even though it's in an empty gym, in a bubble, the season was on the line and that makes it up there with the Oklahoma City game.”

Lillard marched into the same rarified air as legendary center Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players to have three 60-point games in the same season.

“First of all, I’m happy to be in that type of company -- that’s an honor,” Lillard said. “I’m also happy that two of the three came in a winning effort. Tonight couldn’t have been better timing for that type of effort.

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be in the company of Wilt.”

Lillard hit 17 of his 32 shots, 9 of 17 from three-point range and all 18 of his free throws.

Portland struggled through another brutal third quarter, but still managed to take a five-point lead into the fourth period. But the final quarter was a serious slog through missed shots and fouls.

Portland didn’t hit a shot from the field until 6:13 remained in the game and committed 13 fouls in the final quarter. For a while, the only way the Trail Blazers got defensive stops was by fouling -- and that didn’t help because the Mavericks were making their free throws.

Anthony tied the game with 2:23 to go with a three-point shot but Dallas pushed ahead on two free throws. Hassan Whiteside made two foul shots to pull Portland into a two-point lead, but Luka Doncic went one-for-two from the line with 40.2 seconds to go and the Blazers still clung to a one-point lead.

Lillard then missed a jumper, the Mavs gave it back on an offensive foul and McCollum went to the line with 3.9 seconds left and calmly drained two free throws for a three-point lead.

Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a tough fallaway from the left corner and Portland had a huge win.

McCollum has been playing with a serious back injury since last Thursday, but came up big when it counted.

That left Lillard, as emotional as you will see him, to take a tour of the media area courtside, his statement roughly translated as, "Put some respect on my name!"

And after that game, how could you not?

Breaking down NBA playoff scenarios for the 8th Seed in the Western Conference

Breaking down NBA playoff scenarios for the 8th Seed in the Western Conference

During the entirety of the NBA's restart in the bubble, we at NBC Sports NW have been running a series called Eye on the Eight: a series that keeps track and breaks down the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Play-in games are a guarantee for the eighth seed in the West since the nine seed will definitely finish within four games of the eighth seed. The eighth and ninth seeds in the West will face off on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT. If the eighth seed wins then they will advance to the first round of the playoffs to face the Los Angeles Lakers. If the ninth seed wins on Saturday, then the two teams will have a rematch on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PT where the winner will advance to the postseason. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Here are the standings updated after Portland's victory over Dallas, San Antonio's victory over Houston, Phoenix's victory over Philadelphia, and Memphis' loss to Boston on Tuesday, August 11.

8. Portland Trail Blazers Remaining schedule: Brooklyn (Win Percentage: 0.465)

9. Memphis Grizzlies Remaining Schedule: Milwaukee (Win Percentage: 0.458)

10. Phoenix Suns Remaining schedule: Dallas (Win Percentage: 0.458)

11. San Antonio Spurs Remaining schedule: Utah (Win Percentage: 0.457)

Due to the season's suspension, not all teams played the same number of games so the first tiebreaker is win percentage which favors Portland in each matchup.

Then, it will go to head-to-head record, followed by division record if in the same division, then conference record, then conference record against playoff teams, then record against playoff teams in the East, and then net rating.

Scenarios:

Portland Wins Eighth Seed:

-Portland goes 1-0

-Portland goes 0-1, Memphis goes 0-1, San Antonio goes 0-1, Phoenix goes 0-1

Portland Wins Ninth Seed:

-Portland goes 0-1, Two of Memphis, Phoenix, and San Antonio go 0-1

Portland Falls Below the Ninth Seed:

-Portland goes 0-1, two of Memphis, San Antonio and Phoenix goes 1-0

Portland Plays Memphis as the Eighth Seed:

-Portland goes 1-0, Memphis goes 1-0 

Portland Plays Memphis as the Ninth Seed:

-Portland goes 0-1, Memphis goes 1-0, Suns go 0-1,  Spurs go 0-1 

Portland Plays Phoenix as the Eighth Seed:

-Portland goes 1-0, Memphis goes 0-1, Phoenix goes 1-0

Portland Plays Phoenix as the Ninth Seed:

-Portland goes 0-1, Phoenix goes 1-0, Memphis goes 0-1, San Antonio goes 0-1

Portland Plays San Antonio as the Eighth Seed:

-Portland goes 1-0, San Antonio goes 1-0, Memphis go 0-1, Phoenix goes 0-1

Portland Plays San Antonio as the Ninth Seed:

-Portland goes 0-1, San Antonio goes 1-0, Memphis goes 0-1, Phoenix goes 0-1

Memphis plays Phoenix as the Eighth Seed:

-Memphis goes 1-0, Phoenix goes 1-0, Portland goes 0-1

Memphis plays San Antonio as the Eighth Seed:

-Memphis goes 1-0, San Antonio goes 1-0, Portland goes 0-1, and Phoenix goes 0-1

Phoenix plays San Antonio as the Eighth Seed:

-Phoenix goes 1-0, San Antonio goes 1-0, Portland goes 0-1, Memphis goes 0-1

Play-in games schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m. PT

Game 2 (if necessary): Sunday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m. PT 

CJ McCollum, playing with fracture in lower back, hits 2 free throws to seal win

CJ McCollum, playing with fracture in lower back, hits 2 free throws to seal win

CJ McCollum had a rough night from the field for the Trail Blazers Tuesday, but he's playing with a serious injury.

Sources told NBC Sports Northwest prior to the game that McCollum has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) since last Thursday. In layman's terms, he has a fracture in his lower back. He has played three games since the injury.

McCollum went 2-14 from the field but hit two clutch free throws to push Portland into a three-point lead with 3.9 seconds to go.

RELATED: Breaking down NBA playoff scenarios for the 8th Seed in the Western Conference

RELATED: Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard ties career-high in points, Blazers move to No. 8 in West

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard ties career-high in points, Blazers move to No. 8 in West

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard ties career-high in points, Blazers move to No. 8 in West

The last eight match-ups between the Trail Blazers and Mavericks have been decided by single digits; and Tuesday was no different.

It was the Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic show early against the Blazers (Porzingis also had his way with Portland in the third quarter) after the duo sat out of the Mavericks win over the Jazz. 

The Mavs stars looked well-rested and started off hot from deep. Porzingis led all scorers with 16 points at the end of the first quarter. But thanks to the Trail Blazers defensive effort in the final couple of possessions of the first quarter, Portland took a 38-31 lead after the first 12 minutes.

The Trail Blazers finished the final 2:09 of the first quarter on a 13-0 run.

Tuesday's battle quickly became a game of runs. The Blazers were once again led by Damian Lillard. Lillard showed off his quick first step against the Mavericks bigs which definitely helped with his success at the rim. At the break, Lillard had 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

After the Blazers started out slow in both the first and second quarter, they came on strong to finish out both quarters to take a 66-58 lead at halftime.

Gary Trent Jr. continued to bring the energy, particularly on the defensive end.

Trent Jr. also slowed down Luka Doncic with his aggressive defense on the All-Star point guard. Trent Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup to start the third quarter in order to keep the second-year player on Doncic.

Lillard is now the first Trail Blazer player to record back-to-back 50+ point games as he once again led Portland in scoring and tied his career-high with 61 points in 41-plus minutes of work. Lillard also recorded eight assists, five rebounds, and one steal.  

Thanks to Lillard’s big-time performance and the Blazers ability to get stops when they needed them most, along with the Grizzlies loss to the Celtics earlier in the day, Portland now moves into sole possession of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference standings with one game to play.

Just a reminder, the first Western Conference play-in game will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.   

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 134, MAVERICKS 131

Here are three quick takeaways from Portland's seventh seeding game from our NBC Sports NW team:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider:  

It was all Damian Lillard with little help. He has carried them two games in a row. They are in the driver’s seat now

 

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

Damian Lillard was dialed in, to say the least. The Blazers also needed him to play 40+ minutes once again. Lillard notched 34 points by the midway point of the third quarter and finished with a career-high 61. Between Lillard’s tough buckets at the rim and his long-distance shots falling at 53.4 percent on the night (including a crazy this crazy 3-pointer), along with Carmelo Anthony going to work on smaller defenders down low, as well as, Gary Trent Jr.’s bulldog mentality, the Trail Blazers were able to get it done against the unicorn and the Mavs.  

Mike Richman, Reporter

 It truly is a pleasure to watch Damian Lillard. If you're asking 'Where would the Blazers be without him?,' the answer is out of the playoff picture.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon:]

Up Next: The Trail Blazers take the court Thursday at 6:00p.m. in Portland’s final seeding game against the Brooklyn Nets. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Northwest and stream the game on the MyTeams app.

Also, be sure to check back throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

WATCH Damian Lillard ties career-high 61 points with INSANE three-pointer

WATCH Damian Lillard ties career-high 61 points with INSANE three-pointer

Damian Lillard is that man.

The Blazers franchise player put the team on his back against the Dallas Mavericks in what is essentially a do-or-die game for the Blazers.

Down three late, Dame rose from DEEP and what ensued was insane.


It gave Dame 61 points on the game, his third 60-point outing of the season.

Even the Mavs didn't know what to say.

Social media as a whole couldn't believe what they saw.

Stay tuned for postgame coverage after the Blazers thrilling 134-131 win over Dallas!