Lillard has averaged more than 25 points per game for four straight seasons and his numbers last year were impressive, he finished with 25.8 points, 6.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 35.5 minutes over 80 regular season games, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and he was dominant in the playoffs.
The 29-year-old led the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals while averaging 26.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 40.6 minutes over 16 games, shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point range.
Damian Lillard hit cold-blooded 37-foot 3-pointer with no time remaining to give the Trail Blazers a 118-115 win against the Thunder, eliminating them in Game 5 of their first round series. Lillard scored 50 points in that contest and he waved the Thunder off the court as his teammates hugged him and the crowd went insane.
Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson asked Lillard if his instant-classic shot against the Thunder was a crossover moment for him?
“No,” Lillard told Robinson and added:
“That was the second time I hit a walkoff game winner in the Playoffs and I think the first time I did it I really liked crossed over and introduced myself to a different audience and different crowd of people.”
The Trail Blazers would eliminate the Nuggets in the second round and eventually lose to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
Lillard said that the scenery was just right in that series against the Thunder:
“But I think this time it was just like big series,” Lillard explained to Robinson.
“Two star point guards going against each other, it was like one of the only games that was on that night. I had 50, there were so many things that went into it a big moment. It changed a lot.”
Keep an eye on Damian Lillard in the NBA MVP race, if his numbers are similar to what he has produced in the last four years and the Trail Blazers stay healthy, they can be contenders in the Western Conference and if star center Jusuf Nurkic (5.1 Box/Plus Minus last season) comes back, their chances to go far next season improve drastically.
Nurkic is believed to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from the serious leg injury he suffered and Portland’s Big Three of Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic, along with solid role players like Rodney Hood, Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore and Zach Collins gives them a deep roster.
NBA MVP Odds
(Courtesy of 5Dimes)
Giannis Antetokounmpo +275
Stephen Curry +550
Anthony Davis +700
James Harden +800
Joel Embiid +1200
Kawhi Leonard +1200
LeBron James +1200
Nikola Jokic +1800
Paul George +2000
Damian Lillard +2800
Russell Westbrook +3000
Donovan Mitchell +4500
Kemba Walker +5000
Kyrie Irving +5000
Karl-Anthony Towns +5000
Luka Doncic +5000