Just as Damian Lillard said postgame, it’s going to be extremely difficult for the Blazers to get a victory when he, CJ McCollum, and Carmelo Antony go a combined 0-for-16 from three.
But it was also difficult for the Blazers to defeat the Dallas Mavericks for the second straight game Sunday after Dallas started the third quarter on a 19-0 run and ended up outscoring Portland, 38-15 in the quarter.
Not to mention Dallas shot lights out from deep.
It clearly wasn’t the Blazers’ night. Lillard explained how that happens in the NBA and they haven’t had this type of night in a while.
In the 132-92 drubbing, Lillard finished with 19 points and four assists.
And even though the Trail Blazers point guard only played 30 minutes and sat out of the entire fourth quarter due to the game getting out of hand, he was playing through pain in his left knee.
It was in the final three minutes of the third quarter of Friday night’s contest when Lillard went to the floor and banged knees with Josh Richardson as Richardson went for the ball.
Lillard limped down the court and was able to walk it off after the Blazers called timeout and he was examined by team doctors.
As Lillard has done his whole career, he played through the nagging pain.
Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts addressed Lillard’s knee before the Blazers and Mavericks tipped off Sunday night.
“I think his knee is still a little sore,” Coach Stotts said pregame. “He got treatment yesterday and today, so he’ll play and he obviously played through it at the end of the fourth quarter.”
And nobody would’ve ever known that the six-time All-Star was dealing with a swollen and sore left knee after watching these two highlights from the first half:
Lillard added that it was the same knee that he banged during the Blazers Feb. 16th game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It’s the same knee that I got kneed in against OKC and it had never stopped being sore from that game. So to get kneed on that same spot again, I knew that it would react like this and it would be swollen.”
But Lillard reiterated he’s not worried about the knee becoming a bigger problem.
With the Mavs up 103-69 heading into the final period that meant Lillard and the rest of the veteran starters sat out of the fourth quarter.
Lillard finished the game having notched 30 minutes. He’s averaging 36.4 minutes per game this season.
“I think it was definitely helpful to not be out there on it for an extra 12 minutes, putting out that type of effort to get back into a 30-point game.”
Lillard and the Blazers will now wrap-up their five-game homestand Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.
Portland’s fifth game over eight days.