Stan Van Gundy has a lot to be upset about.
The New Orleans Pelicans head coach just witnessed his team blow a 17-point lead as the Portland Trail Blazers completed an improbable comeback in the closing minute to come away with a 125-124 victory.
It all came down to the final seconds. Portland went on a 16-0 run in the final quarter, but New Orleans was up with 124-121 with less than a minute left. Brandon Ingram went to the line to shoot two free throws, missing both. Lillard was fouled by Eric Bledsoe with 5.2 seconds remaining and went to the FT line to shoot two free throws, both of which he made to close the Pelicans lead to 1.
With under 5 seconds remaining, the Pelicans muffed an inbound pass off Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s chest. As time was about to expire, and the Blazers trailing 124-123, Lillard was fouled by Bledsoe on a two-point jumper and made both free throws with only 1.2 seconds left on the clock.
The Trail Blazers pulled off a stunning 125-124 comeback in miraculous fashion, and SVG wasn’t having it. After the game, the Pels head coach fired shots at Lillard, who he claims got preferential officiating treatment because he’s a star player.
"You can't get within three feet of em, that's a problem,” Van Gundy said of Lillard. “He had the one where he just stopped and then fell down, so they gave him the call, there’s no foul there...
Damian Lillard would be the first one to disagree with Van Gundy over officiating. Damian Lillard appeared sick and tired of NBA officiating after the Blazers loss to Wizards earlier this season and had every right to be frustrated with officiating after their loss to the Mavericks.
So, it goes both ways.
Still, this is the 11th time this season the Pelicans have blown a double-digital lead to lose the game and Tuesday’s game was evidence of another all-time choke job by New Orleans, but that has nothing to do with Lillard.
That has everything to do with an 88% free throw shooter bricking a pair of shots at the line. That has everything to do with turning over an inbounds pass. And also, Stan Van Gundy, that has everything to do with fouling a six-time NBA All-Star with under two seconds to play.
Portland’s incredible win had everything to do with Lillard coming up clutch like he does time and time again. Do what the rest of the world is doing SVG, sit down and give the most feared man in the NBA the respect he deserves. You're embarrassing yourself.