It’s never wise to light a fire under a player as talented as Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia 76ers, they became casualties of Lillard’s bounce-back game after Portland’s bitter defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Following a war of words with Clippers players Paul George and Patrick Beverley, the 6-foot-2 scorer went off in Portland’s 124-121 win inside the Visa Athletic Center on Sunday.
Lillard put the entire league on notice with his scintillating performance, dropping 51 points on 16-for-28 field goal shooting. He also posted seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals in 40 minutes of action.
Shortly after the match, Lillard admitted that the defeat to the Clippers (and the animosity that followed) played a big factor in his amazing game on Sunday. Per Washington Post’s Ben Golliver:
Blazers’ Damian Lillard (51 points in Sun. win over Sixers after clutch FT misses in Sat. loss to Clippers): “We let one slip that we should have had yesterday. I was a big part of why that got away from us. Tonight I was like, that’s not going to happen.” pic.twitter.com/CpRHMj1S1D
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 10, 2020
Damian Lillard, of course, uncharacteristically flubbed two clutch free throws against the Clips on Saturday that cost the Blazers the W in the end. He was ridiculed by Beverley and the rest of the Clippers bench following that mishap.
Dame Dolla fired back by reminding everyone that his Blazers team eliminated both Beverley and George’s former squads on separate occasions in the postseason. This triggered a heated back-and-forth between the three individuals, which will certainly carry over if they somehow meet in the playoffs.
The beef has gotten so overblown that Lillard’s sister and George’s girlfriend exchanged nasty insults on social media.
For what it’s worth though, Lillard will have to continue putting up huge numbers like this one for Portland to clinch that eighth seed in the West. The 30-year-old superstar has been tallying 29.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 64 games so far.
The Blazers are close to securing a spot in the play-in tournament, but they are still facing a difficult challenge with the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns also in contention.