Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard knows exactly what to do with the game on the line

Trail Blazers

Lillard Time. Dame Time. 

Call it what you will, the fact of the matter is it's always fun to watch the clock strike that special time. 

On Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors, it did it once more. 

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However, when someone says "Lillard Time" they are usually talking about a big shot. Something like the ".9" shot vs. Houston, or the "Bad Shot" vs. OKC. 

This time around, it wasn't just another big shot but a defensive stop that had the clock's alarm bells ringing. 

It all went down in the final 30 seconds of the game.

Down by one point, Lillard pushed the ball up the court. He found himself guarded by Kent Bazemore, rose up, and drilled the deep go-ahead three over his former teammate with 13.7 left to play.

How the Warriors played Lillard all game really shaped that big play from the Blazers star.

"I knew they had been trapping pretty heavy all night. I was seeing bodies all night, " said Lillard. "Once I saw that it was (Bazemore) in front of me I was looking at the backside. I saw Draymond (Green) and I just knew that if I attacked the rim he was gonna come over and meet me at the rim. I knew that the opportunity for me to attack early wasn't there. So I just tried to do a move to get Baze off me... I gave him just a little move and he backed up and gave me a little bit of space and I was able to raise up pretty comfortably and get a good look."

 

He says it as if it were the simplest of plays. To be fair, he did make it look pretty effortless. That's what happens when a master of his craft goes to work. 

Lillard is a master of the offensive. On the defensive end, he always gets picked apart by talking heads. On this night though, he proved that he knows what he is doing on that end as well. 

Golden State had one last chance to win or force overtime. With a team like Golden State, you know the ball is finding its way to Steph Curry for a three-ball to take the lead. Sure enough, the ball found his hands. But the Blazers played defense on him about as well as one can and forced the ball to Draymond Green. It was here that Lillard stepped up to the plate. 

"In our practices and film coach, Nate Tibbetts is always talking about the lag guy. The most important guy when the guy you are guarding is leaving the strong side," said Lillard. "That became me. Once I switch off of (Curry) my guy was running to the opposite corner and I was the lag. So I kinda, like, turned and took a peek at the action and just watched how it developed. Once we ran Draymond off the line he and was coming downhill pretty fast I waited a second to make sure he was gonna commit to going to the rim and once he did I just stepped in and took the charge."

Who knew Lillard Time could strike on the defensive end of the court as well? If you didn't, you do now because it was the play that won the game for Portland. 

Big shot-maker. Big charge-taker. 

We might as well just change the term "crunch time" to "Lillard Time" because Lillard owns it.