Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard single-handedly willed his team to a 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, dropping a career-high 71 points on 22-of-38 shooting with 13 made threes.
The scoring outburst tied the highest of the NBA season with Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point display, as Lillard becomes just the eighth player in league history to record 70 or more points in a game.
It was just the fourth time this season a player has scored at least 60 points and the second time Lillard has accomplished the feat this campaign. It also puts him third all time in career 60-point games with five.
Lillard did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 41 points in the frame, tied for the second most by a player in the last 25 seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info.
His 13 threes were also a career high and one shy of tying Klay Thompson’s all-time record of 14. Lillard also added six rebounds and six assists to his tally.
“I enjoy those moments in the game when I’m just going after people, when I’m in attack mode,” Lillard told reporters including The Associated Press’ Anne M. Peterson after the game.
To go along with his red-hot shooting from outside, Lillard uncorked a vicious poster dunk over Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr. in crunch time.
Outside of the All-Star point guard, only two other Blazers reached double figures in scoring. Lillard had 22 of his team’s 42 field goals and made five more 3-pointers than the entire Rockets squad.
“I’ve never seen a performance like that before,” Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups said.
“I don’t want to be on the other side of that, but it was fun being on this side.”
The contest was crucial for Portland as well, with the team trying to keep pace in the Western Conference play-in race. The 29-31 Blazers are now just one game back of the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 10 seed.
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