Blazers Brass: Time and time again, Damian Lillard never ceases to amaze us. The star point guard for the Portland Trailblazers manages to lift the franchise from the dead seemingly to potential great heights in the playoffs. The supporting cast however did not do Lillard any favors, especially in crunch time. Last night was no exception.
Blazers Brass: Role Players Fall Short
After hitting a record setting twelve triples (2 of which sent the game into OT and double OT) in route to a 55 point explosion, the Portland Trailblazers role players failed to compliment Lillard’s remarkable performance, thus costing the team the opportunity to take a commanding 3-2 series lead against the Denver Nuggets.
Instead, they must go home and stave off elimination in order to force a Game 7 back on the road in Denver Colorado; a city where the elevation does its opponents no favors both physically with the altitude, and mentally with their raucous crowd.
After sending the game into double OT, Lillard drew a crowd of defenders and dropped off a great pass to teammate Robert Covington on the way to the cup. Covington however failed to convert the seemingly “gimmie” bucket. This would have cut the deficit to one point and gave the Blazers a real chance. Instead, he missed the bucket which really proved to be costly down the stretch.
Blazers Brass: Mistakes Continue
Another head-scratching mistake was made by his once “reliable” backcourt partner, CJ McCollum. With the Blazers down three points heading into the final seconds of double overtime, Lillard drew another pair of defenders and swung the ball to CJ McCollum for a potential game-tying three pointer. McCollum however stepped out of bounds which seemingly ended the game.
Despite the loss, Lillard’s performance was not overlooked by stars within the sports world. Players like Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, and Hall of Famer Ervin Magic Johnson all showed their praise. Even players outside of basketball like star quarterback Patrick Mahomes was in awe.
Nonetheless, this performance was another perfect example of why “Logo Lillard” may eventually consider taking his talents elsewhere, especially if the franchise makes considerable changes. Despite Lillard’s displayed loyalty and affirmation for the city of Portland, it is hard not to recognize the lack of talent surrounding him, not only this year, but in years past.
In previous playoff seasons, Lillard ripped the hearts of several teams including the Houston Rockets with James Harden and Dwight Howard during the 2014 postseason and more recently the Oklahoma City Thunder with Russell Westbrook and Paul George during the 2019 playoffs with incredible buzzer-beating shots. He even managed to take the short handed Blazers to the Western Conference against the Golden State Warriors finals that very season when many admitted that they had no business advancing that far.
Blazers Brass: Lillard on the Move?
If a team with an established superstar like the Milwaukee Bucks for example go after his services via trade or free agency in the future, it will be hard for Lillard not to at least consider the opportunity playing alongside a player like Giannis Antetokoumpo, something he has never done before.
The Portland Trailblazers may be approaching a figurative ticking bomb so to speak. If they continue to throw away Lillard’s heroic efforts in the moments that matter most, an eventual divorce may be near, therefore coinciding with any relevance attached to their brand.