ORLANDO – Somebody said the guy was wearing a turquoise shirt. But come on, that’s nothing to go on in the Sunshine State. A whole lot of people are wearing turquoise, it seems.
We’ll never know the man’s name, but the Orlando Magic have to be considering not allowing him through the turnstiles any more – at least when Damian Lillard is playing the Magic.
That man was a heckler who jumped on Lillard’s back in the first half Thursday night when the Trail Blazer guard was suffering through a rough shooting spell. Lillard went coast-to-coast to hit a buzzer-beating layup to end the half and put his team up by 10.
And at that point, Lillard was 2-8 from the floor, 0-2 from three-point range and 3-5 from the foul line for seven points.
So keep talking, Man in the Turquoise Shirt.
Lillard finished with 41 points to lead a 128-114 win over the Magic and handled the heckler the way the true pros do it – with his play on the court.
"Something one of the fans said pissed him off," CJ McCollum said. "it was probably the wrong thing for (the fan) to do. He was aggressive, attacked the basket, he knocked down shots for us. He was huge in the second half"
“He kept hollering my name,” Lillard said, “'You don’t want to play tonight.' 'You ain’t that good.' It wasn’t so much what he was saying, the whole first half he just wouldn’t shut up. I got tired of it. And that was it. I told him at the end of the second quarter. I said, ‘We’re gonna see.’ And he kept going and talking, and we saw it.”
Lillard made 11 of his 15 shots in the second half, including 5 of his 8 three-pointers. He also finished with seven rebounds and six assists.
“I didn’t hear much from him in the second half,” Lillard said.
Lillard was asked if he noticed what the guy was wearing.
“I didn’t look at his shirt,” Lillard said. “I was looking at his eyes.”
Lillard had plenty of offensive help on this night. Zach Collins pitched a perfect game en route to 17 points, making all seven of his shots, including both threes and also a foul shot.
And with Collins’ 17 and Seth Curry’s 11, the Portland bench chimed in with 40 points on 18 for 27 shooting,
Evan Turner did an outstanding job guiding Portland's second unit. And he was pretty geeked up about Lillard's performance.
"It's big time, man," Turner said. "it's even bigger because he was pushing us into the lead, it wasn't like a blowout type thing it was we needed points, big buckets, and he answered a lot of runs so, it was huge to start this first game of a four-game road trip. I don't know who was talking, it doesn't make any sense to me. He answered back. He came out ultra aggressive. He had an amazing performance."
Surely, it was Lillard’s night and I’m pretty certain if the Trail Blazers could find The Man in the Turquoise Shirt they’d offer him a free trip down to Miami for Portland’s Saturday night game.
As long as he promises to keep heckling.