History was made on Wednesday night.
Damian Lillard became the first player in franchise history to score 2,000 points and dish out 500 assists in a season. Lillard needed just 17 points to hit the 2,000 mark. He is also just the second player in the NBA this season to have accomplished such feat with James Harden being the only other.
Portland also earned its 50th win for the first time since the 2014-15 season after running away from the Grizzlies, 116-89.
But, there was more of an unexpected accomplishment that happened at the 1:57 mark of the fourth quarter when Blazers rookie Anfernee Simons swished home a 23-foot jumper.
That three-pointer gave Evan Turner his last assist he needed to reach a triple-double for the second time in as many games.
Yes, it happened again.
But, it almost didn’t.
“Wouldn’t you know it, I bring Jake [Layman] to the table and was going to take [Evan] out and then two guys hit shots. I’m really happy for him,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame. “I was just told this is the second time it’s been done in franchise history… I’m really happy for him that he strung together back-to-back games. We need him, especially with CJ being out.”
Turner finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in 28 minutes of action.
Turner is now just the second player in franchise history to record back-to-back triple doubles.
The other player to do it?
It was Clyde Drexler, who did it back in the 1989-90 season
“It was dope” and “it was cool” were the two phrases Turner used in the locker to describe the feat.
Turner did feel that his first triple-double of the season in Monday’s win over Minnesota was more legitimate because it was a closer game and the bench did not get completely unloaded like it did on Wednesday night.
But for the 30-year-old, it wasn’t all about his individual accomplishment in his postgame interview.
“It was a big second half for us defensively… We were able to get to 50 wins,” he said. “The 50 wins is really dope because I’ve never actually done that, I’ve been trying to do that for like, my last year in Boston and even last year.”
“Fifty wins in the West is unreal,” Turner added.
For the Trail Blazers floor general, he appreciates what Turner is able to do off the court.
“Just who he is as a person I think he just brings something different to this team, great for the locker room, great for the morale of the team. He brings a good feeling to the team,” Lillard said.
In the win, Zach Collins finished with a career-high 19 points. Collins gives credit to being able to get easy buckets to Turner running the second unit.
“ET has been on a tear passing the ball. He’s been one of the best, if not the best, passer on our team all year,” Collins said.
“The last few games, he’s just been finding guys, he’s been really aggressive and looking for his shot as well, which kind of opens it up for everybody else. When he’s making his mid-range shot and passing the ball our offense is really clicking,” Collins added.
With Turner, it’s an expectation to hear a few wisecracks from him in the locker room and Wednesday night, there were even more ET jokes to go around.
“I’m just gonna start lobbying for a spot in the rafters now, obviously,” Turner said with a big smile.
“Just put Dame’s stuff up there first and then… you just have a little asterisk next to mine,” Turner joked.
But, besides the retiring of the jersey, Turner was hoping he and Lillard could accomplish the a triple-double on the same night.
“Once again, I did something Dame hasn’t done. Nah, just joking… It would’ve been dope, I don’t think coach was aware, but Dame was three rebounds away, to be able to do that with him,” Turner said.
Since it turned into a blowout victory, Lillard did not play the entire fourth quarter and finished the game with 20 points, 10 assists and those seven rebounds.
But all kidding aside, Turner says he was a big Clyde Drexler fan and he didn’t know Clyde had accomplished the back-to-back triple doubles.
“I knew he was a hell of player, but I didn’t know he was that great of all-around player… This is just a great memory,” Turner said.