Trail Blazers

Skip Bayless has backed himself into a corner with Damian Lillard criticism

Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard doesn’t need Skip Bayless to tell him he’s the “clutchest” in the game, the numbers speak for themselves.

Nobody performs in the clutch like the Trail Blazers star.

In five-point games in the last five minutes this season, Lillard has scored 82 points (1st) while shooting 63.2% from the field (1st, min 15 att), 58.8% from three-point range (1st, min 15 att), and is 100% from the free-throw line with a 12-3 record (1st).

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Piled onto the mountain of evidence was Wednesday’s go-ahead basket over the New Orleans Pelicans. Trailing by one with 26 seconds left, Lillard scored while being fouled on the drive and his three-point play with 16.5 seconds remaining helped seal Portland’s 126-124 victory and the franchise’s sixth-straight win. He finished the night with 43 points, 16 assists and 7 3-pointers.

On FS1's The Undisputed Thursday, Shannon Sharpe didn’t need to be convinced that Dame is the all-time clutch.  

 

“He is,” Sharpe said. “He’s the greatest clutch player in this generation. Since he came into the league, Skip, in 2012, he has 33 go-aheads, in the final five minutes, 33 of those shots in the regular season in overtime. Skip, he’s spectacular. He’s unbelievable.”

Sharpe went on to compare Lillard to the G.O.A.T. himself, Michael Jordan, for his inability to seal games in crunch time.

“Dame is the greatest clutch player of this generation,” Sharpe said. “Michael Jordan and Dame are the only players to end 2 playoff series on game-winning shots. He’s clutch, I’ve seen enough.”

But despite Lillard averaging 29.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists this season and paving his path into the league’s MVP conversation, Skip Bayless is still unwilling to entertain the idea that Lillard is the clutchest of all-time.

“I will give you real deal legit during the regular season,” Bayless said. “I will give you all-time clutch during the regular season. I will not give you postseason because I have not seen nearly enough in the postseason. …There have been way too many flameouts on the resume for me to say all-time clutch when it matters the most in the post-season.”

Skip had to dust off the archives to find enough evidence to support his claim. He mentioned the Trail Blazers being swept in the first-round by the Anthony Davis led Pelicans in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and then followed that up by sharing how the Trail Blazers lost in four games to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in 2019 despite Kevin Durant being sidelined.

That’s when Sharpe clapped back.  

“You said, Dame Lillard, you should have beat, without KD, you should have beaten the greatest backcourt shooting team, the greatest backcourt ever, you should have beat them Damian Lillard,” Sharpe said. “As great as Steph Curry is, Steph Curry doesn’t have the clutch numbers as Dame Lillard. Is he not great?”

 

What Bayless fails to admit is Lillard did come through against the Houston Rockets in 2014 and he did deliver the coldest game-winner, an impossible 37-footer over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the first-round series of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. His late-game heroics are nothing new.

Bayless can’t pick and choose which plays he wants to use to substantiate his argument, and that’s something Sharpe called out quickly.

“What you’re doing is because he doesn’t come up in every clutch situation, no one has, but in more times than not, we’ve seen him come up big than not,” Sharpe said. “It’s like Brady. Brady doesn’t always come up in clutch situations, but more times than not, he does.”

Lillard continues to strengthen his clutch case each game and it’s becoming impossible to ignore just his case for MVP too. The Trail Blazers superstar doesn’t need Bayless to tell him he’s the clutchest in the game, there’s already a slogan for it.

Lillard Time.