With his series-ending buzzer beaters to eliminate the Houston Rockets in the 2014 playoffs, and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2019 playoffs, Damian Lillard has not only established himself as one of the most clutch shot-makers in the league, but set a pretty high standard for what constitutes an amazing shot.
His effort on Saturday night certainly qualified, as he hit one of the wildest game winners you’ll ever see to lift the Portland Trail Blazers over the Chicago Bulls, 123-122. Let’s take a look at how it happened.
With just over 11 seconds remaining, Bulls point guard Coby White knocked down two free throws to put the Bulls up by five, and seemingly seal the game. Only Lillard came out of the timeout and immediately hit a 3 from almost 40 feet to make it a two-point game.
On the ensuing inbound, the Blazers trapped Zach LaVine in the corner, and were able to force a jump ball before he could call timeout. The Blazers then won the jump ball, and after a brief scramble for the ball, Lillard came away with it and hit a fadeaway for the win.
Unreal. This look from Garrett Temple tells you all you need to know about how the Bulls were feeling after that one.
Lillard finished with a season-high 44 points, five rebounds and nine assists in the win. This was his third buzzer beater, which is the most in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats and Info. It’s also his 35th game with at least 40 points. No other player in Blazers history even has half that many.
This victory ended a mini two-game losing streak for the Blazers, and improved their record this season to 10-8. It’s been a tough go of things in Portland with CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins all out with long term injuries, but so far they’ve been hanging in there. As it stands, they’re only half a game out of fourth place in this strange season, and Lillard showed once again that as long as he’s around they always have a chance.