Trail Blazers led 76ers for all but the most important 10.1 seconds of the game

Trail Blazers led 76ers for all but the most important 10.1 seconds of the game

The toughest losses aren’t usually the ones when your team gets blown out. They’re the ones like Portland’s 129-128 defeat Saturday night, when the Trail Blazers – undersized and undermanned – held off the Philadelphia 76ers with their best offensive performance of the season, and lost in the final 2.2 seconds on a corner three by the world-famous Furkan Korkmaz, who came into the game shooting 28.6 percent from three-point range.

The Sixers didn’t even have a lead until 10.1 seconds remained, when they got two free throws from Ben Simmons, whose wacky rotation on his free throws looks like a Clayton Kershaw slider.

But the fact is, the Trail Blazers – as well as they played on offense for about 45 minutes of the game – earned this loss.

Let me count the ways:

  • With Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, Pau Gasol on the sidelines with injuries, the Trail Blazers were playing a small lineup most of the game. And they were able to overcome the size disadvantage with hustle and grit, owning a 21-point lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. But then the 76ers started getting serious at both ends of the court. They turned up their defense and started ramming the ball inside on offense. It ended up as a layup drill on offense (Philadelphia hit 13 of its 18 shots on the way to a whopping 26 points in the paint in the fourth quarter.) Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers had five turnovers in the fourth quarter and wilted a bit down the stretch.
  • Portland had a 125-118 lead with 3:25 left and didn’t get another point until Anfernee Simons’ corner three-pointer with 2.6 seconds to go, that could have been a game-winner. During that scoreless 3:23, Portland missed two layups, a three-pointer and had two turnovers.
  • Korkmaz used a solid screen from Al Horford to get a wide-open three that won it for the Sixers with .4 left and Damian Lillard’s desperation three wasn’t close, as the Blazers fell to 0-2 at home.

“They did a good job,” said Portland’s CJ McCollum, acknowledging the Philadelphia defensive effort in the second half. “But we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. For the most part, we let them get out and run, which allowed offensive rebounds and threes. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job. I’d like to get a couple of possessions back but up 20, we have to do a better job of closing the game out.”

Indeed, it was amazing how long Portland stayed with the Sixers on the boards. But in the end, Philadelphia finished with a 46-36 rebound edge and a 13-4 advantage on the offensive boards. Points in the point were crazy lopsided, with Philadelphia owning an 84-40 edge.

The Blazers stayed in the game with an outstanding shooting night, particularly from long range. Portland shot 57.7 percent overall and 55.9 percent from three. Mario Hezonja had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a starting role and Rodney Hood – who suffered a knee contusion in the fourth quarter – had 25 points on 9-11 shooting. Lillard was terrific from the field (11-16 and 8-11 from three) but it wasn’t quite good enough.

“We played such a great game and they just chipped away and got back into it,” Lillard said. “We let one slip. I think the way we lost sucks.”

Terry Stotts seemed to agree.

“It was tough to lose that one,” he said. “I thought we played a really good game, especially offensively. It was really the first game that our offense really got on track. That was good to see against a good defensive team.

“But the reality is, the second half we didn’t do what we needed to do defensively and we had too many turnovers.”

By the numbers: Damian Lillard in rarefied air after career night

By the numbers: Damian Lillard in rarefied air after career night

On a day where we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Damian Lillard gave his best performance.

Career-high 61 points, check. Most points by a player this season, check. An MLK Day record, check. Career-high and franchise record 11 three pointers, beating his own record, check. 

We marvel in the greatness that is Damian Lillard, and these numbers make his accomplishment that much more impressive: 

And perhaps the greatest stat of them all...? The Trail Blazers got the win!

Sounds like Trail Blazers dodged a bullet with Anfernee Simons' rolled ankle

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Sounds like Trail Blazers dodged a bullet with Anfernee Simons' rolled ankle

In a season that has been defined by injuries, it sounds like the Trail Blazers avoided anything serious in Monday night’s win over the Warriors.
With 1:28 to go in overtime, after he hit a clutch three-pointer, shooting guard Anfernee Simons was subbed out of the game. 

He rolled his ankle in making that three. 
Simons did not return to action.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts offered up a quick update on Simons.

He turned his ankle; I don’t think it’s bad, but he turned it. -- Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame.

Simons was receiving treatment after the game and was not made available to the media.
The good thing for Simons and the Blazers is they now have 2 days in-between their next game.
The Blazers will use Tuesday as a ‘health and performance day’ to get their bodies right.
Portland hosts Dallas on Thursday night.

Terry Stotts breaks with tradition after Damian Lillard's career night

Terry Stotts breaks with tradition after Damian Lillard's career night

Damian Lillard left it all out on the court Monday night. 

En route to the Trail Blazers overtime win over the Golden State Warriors Monday night at the Moda Center, Damian Lillard dropped a career-high 61 points, connected on 11 three pointers, breaking his previous career-high and franchise-high of ten, scored the most points EVER on MLK Day and the most points in the NBA this season.

It was only fitting that he received the game ball afterwards.

“That was a great team effort,” Terry Stotts said in the locker room after the game. “We had five guys play over 40 minutes, that was a hell of an effort. But, Dame, a career-high, a franchise-high...” (inaudible as the locker room erupts in applause)

Lillard, in true Lillard fashion, enjoyed the moment by acknowledging his teammates, walking around slapping hands with each of them.

Terry Stotts is not one to give out game balls, so this moment is especially special.  

After the game, Lillard’s teammates took to social media to show the point guard some love, too. 

An incredible effort from the Trail Blazers franchise player. 

Damian Lillard was 61-derful in his performance against Golden State

Damian Lillard was 61-derful in his performance against Golden State

One man isn't supposed to be able to win you a basketball game all by himself. Damian Lillard didn't quite do that Monday night in Moda Center -- but that's about as close as you will ever come to seeing someone do it.

It was 61-derful.

The Trail Blazers took a 129-124 victory away from the Golden State Warriors, thanks to Lillard's 61 points, built on 11 three-point field goals in 20 attempts. The other eight Trail Blazers who played combined for 68 points on 3-24 shooting from three-point range. It was the most points scored by an NBA player this season, a franchise record (breaking his own mark of 60 set earlier this season) and he became only the sixth player in league history to record multiple 60-point games. And oh yes, he also tied a franchise record by going 16-16 from the foul line.

"You kind of run out of adjectives for Damian and his performance," Coach Terry Stotts said. "The way he carried the team, not just on the court but in the huddles, timeouts, halftime. His leadership was great and like I said, you run out of adjectives. He's an amazing player."

Lillard did not minimize the importance of this game for his 19-26 team -- or the magnitude of his performance.

"It's one of the best of my career... one of my better performances in a game we needed to win," he said, "I think that's just what it is. We needed a win tonight. A great performance. I'm excited about it. I'm happy about it, but I wish it counted for three wins instead of one."

Lillard hit a 26-foot step-back three pointer with 15.3 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. He had scored 12 points in the period.

Then in overtime, after Portland fell behind by six points, he tied it with 58.3 seconds to play with a 27-foot pull-up jumper, then fed Gary Trent for a layup with 34.8 to go that pushed his team into a two-point lead. Alec Burks responded with a three that jumped the Warriors back into the lead with 32.7 left in the extra session but Lillard's two free throws seven seconds later helped Portland regain the lead.

Then, after Hassan Whiteside nailed two clutch foul shots with 8.5 seconds left, Lillard finished off his night with two more free tosses that got him to 61 points.

And he admitted later that he knew what his point total was when he went to the line.

"Yeah, I knew," he said. "I knew I had 59 after it was eight seconds left so I was like, it's probably going to sit at 59. Then the shot went up, I got the rebound, the guy bumped me and I was like, I'm going to fall down. They;re going to have to blow the whistle and I;m getting those two free throws."

He deserved them. It was his night.

He also deserved his first career triple-double. He ended with 10 rebounds and seven assists, but could have had four or five more assists had his teammates been able to knock down their open three-point shots.

"He's a great player," Golden State Coach Steve Kerr said. "He's a hell of a player. An all-star. He's hit some big shots in his career, so it didn't surprise me ..."

Hassan Whiteside wanted those free throws.... real bad

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Hassan Whiteside wanted those free throws.... real bad

“Sixty! Sixty! Sixty!” -- That was the chant coming from Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside inside the locker room after the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors in overtime, 129-124.  

It was Damian Lillard’s night, leading the Blazers to a victory after scoring a franchise-record 61 points.

Everything was going right for Lillard, who said it was “just one of those days.”

After the game, Whiteside was quick to comment on Lillard’s stellar performance.

“It’s amazing. Dame played amazing. I just told him to keep shooting, even when you miss, just keep shooting, I’m going to keep trying to get you open with these screens so keep shooting,” Whiteside said.

But down the stretch, Hassan Whiteside also stepped up, too.

He did it from the line.

The Blazers held a one point lead with 8.5 seconds remaining in the game when Alec Burks fouled Whiteside.

It's pretty well-known that NBA guards around the league often say they want that chance to win a game at the free throw line. And bigs have the reputation of not being able to convert. 

Yet, on Monday night, it was this big man that had ice in his veins.

Whiteside nailed both free throws, making the score 127-124 -- Trail Blazers.

That was a huge moment for the big fella, especially since he put so much work in on his free throw shooting over the summer.

I wanted those free throws. I think these last two games have been my worst free throw shooting games. I think last game I missed three free throws which is the most free throws I missed all season. Dame was just telling me to take my time and knock them down. I’ve been waiting for it and I knocked them down. – Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside after Monday's win

Whiteside was cool, calm, and collected at the charity stripe; however, that wasn’t the case in the final seconds of the third quarter. Portland was down 90-84 with 16.1 seconds remaining in the quarter when Whiteside was hit with a technical foul.

This was the one time that the 7-footer didn’t listen to his team captain.

The good thing about him is he actually listens. Tonight he actually did the opposite. I tried to calm him down and he was still like elbowing dudes, got a tech. And, I went up to him again and I was like – ‘I just said keep your cool, like we don’t need a tech right now and you did it.’ He was like – ‘no, I got you,’ and he shook my hand. – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said postgame

Of Monday's win, people will definitely remember Lillard’s overall performance. They might also remember Whiteside knocking down two clutch free throws as well as getting kneed where the sun don't shine.

Whiteside joked postgame he was still in pain and he struggling to do his interview.   

It’s probably fair to say that Whiteside took one for the team when Eric Paschall kneed him right below the belt with 39.5 seconds remaining in overtime.

Whiteside was lying down on the baseline for a couple of minutes. In the moment, it looked scary. Then, the replay explained Whiteside just needed a minute.

With Whiteside challenging Paschall on that play and coming up with the block, it, in turn, led to the go-ahead Gary Trent Jr. lay-up that put the Blazers up 123-121.

That entire sequence was just seconds before Whiteside’s two free throws which helped the Blazers put the Warriors away.

Lillard couldn’t help but give credit to his big man.

[He] come up with a big verticality block that lead to a Gary Trent lay-up, then he get a big rebound, he get fouled, then he made two big free throws and that was the stretch that won us the game, so I think that says everything.   – Damian Lillard on Hassan Whiteside

Whiteside finished the game with 17 points, 21 rebounds, and six blocks.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts reiterated that it was Lillard’s night, but Whiteside had some key contributions.

“He made some good plays, big plays,” Stotts said. “He’s out there with Dame a lot, his screen setting, his reaction on defense, his rebounding, obviously, everybody who was on the court had something to do with the game, obviously, Dame was the Man of the Hour, but Hassan really made a difference when he was in.”

The man of the hour also said he wasn’t going to lose to this extremely short-handed Warriors team.

With the win, Portland goes to .500 at home with a 10-10 record.

It's good that on a night where Lillard dropped 61, the Blazers got the win. Otherwise, the entire team, not just Whiteside, would have felt like they all got kneed below the belt.

The ultimate Damian Lillard career-high highlight

The ultimate Damian Lillard career-high highlight

On a day where we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Damian Lillard gave his best performance.

Career-high 61 points, check. Most points by a player this season, check. An MLK Day record, check. Career-high and franchise record 11 three pointers, beating his own record, check. 

We marvel in the greatness that is Damian Lillard in the video above.

 

Even Stephen Curry watched in awe of Damian Lillard

Even Stephen Curry watched in awe of Damian Lillard

DAMIAN. FREAKING. LILLARD.

Career-high 61 points, check. Most points by a player this season, check. An MLK Day record, check. Career-high and franchise record 11 three pointers, beating his own record, check. 

We all watched on in awe as Damian Lillard went off. 

So, too, did Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who remains sidelined with a broken hand. 

Curry is known to pour in buckets at a high clip in the past, but he's never scored 60+ points. His career-high is 54. 

So, as Curry watched helplessly from the Warriors bench, at least he can reslish in the fact that was able to get a front row seat to watch Lillard's greatness.

Presenting, the many faces of Steph Curry.

Same, Steph... same.

Social media lost its collective mind on Damian Lillard's career night

Social media lost its collective mind on Damian Lillard's career night

Damian Lillard is a BAAAD man. 

On the day where the world celebrated the sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Portland Trail Blazers point guard provided the NBA’s best performance… ever. 

Lillard scored a career-high 61 points for the Portland Trail Blazers, connecting on a career and franchise-high 11 three pointers. 

He finished the game 11 for 20 from three.

It was the 7th career 50-point game for Damian Lillard, which matches the total from every other player in Trail history combined.

 

His performance had social media going crazy!

Have a game, Dame! Have. A. Game. 

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard drops 61 in Blazers OT win over Warriors

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard drops 61 in Blazers OT win over Warriors

Monday night was a battle of two undermanned teams.  

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum sat out of his second straight game with a left ankle sprain, while on the other end, the Warriors were without starting forward Draymond Green. Green suited up for Golden State, but did not play due to an illness.

Portland outscored the Warriors, 27-23, in the first quarter, but then struggled to muster up enough scoring in the second and third quarters. The Blazers were able to win the final period behind Damian Lillard's scoring prowess. Twelve was the Warriors' biggest lead on the night, but once Portland forced overtime the Blazers were determined to get the W. Hassan Whiteside hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds to help seal the deal for the Blazers.

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 129, WARRIORS 124

Here are three quick takeaways from Monday’s win:

1.  Lillard takes over 

Double-teamed, triple-teamed -- the Warriors threw everything they had at Damian Lillard. Golden State even picked Lillard up full court for most of the game. But, they still couldn’t slow down the Trail Blazers All-Star point guard. Lillard notched 42 points through the first three quarters. He was on the attack for most of the night, which resulted in him getting to the line. Lillard finished the night 11-of-11 from the charity stripe, but there were still plenty of no-calls Lillard was not happy about. Lillard's three-pointer with 15.6 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 113, which eventually meant the Blazers and Warriors were heading to OT. Lillard finished with a new career-high and franchise record 61 points. 

2. Both teams struggle from deep

The Trail Blazers had a good shooting night from inside the arc. Portland shot 54.2 percent from the field in the first quarter, but went just 1-of-4 from three for the quarter.  

It was even more of a struggle for Golden State early. The Warriors started the game shooting 0-for-8 from long distance in the first quarter, and 32.1 percent from the field.  The three-point shooting didn’t get much better for either team with Damian Lillard being the exception. Lillard was the only Trail Blazer who had made a three-pointer until 48.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Mario Hezonja hit a wide open three from the wing.

3. Warriors take advantage of young Blazers

Rookie mistakes quickly became a common theme Monday night for Portland. Nassir Little, Jaylen Hoard, and Moses Brown all found themselves out of rotation on the defensive end at least once or twice. Their lapses at that end of the floor not only resulted in the Warriors putting up big numbers in the paint, but the lapses also resulted in limited minutes for the young bigs.   

Up Next: Portland will continue its four-game homestand when the Blazers host the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the players!