Lillard dazzles as Portland end Warriors' winning streak
(The Sports Xchange) - Guard Damian Lillard said not getting an invitation to participate in the NBA All-Star Game didn't provide extra motivation on Friday night at the Moda Center.
He could have fooled a lot of people with his performance in the Portland Trail Blazers' 137-105 drubbing of the Golden State Warriors.
Lillard bombed in a career-high 51 points to lead the Trail Blazers (28-27) to the rout of the defending NBA champions and the team with the NBA's best record this season.
Guard CJ McCollum added 21 points and seven assists and center Mason Plumlee contributed 12 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Blazers, who won for the ninth time in 10 games.
"Whether I make the All-Star team or not, my focus is on making this team a winning team," said Lillard, who scored 32 points in the second half and 21 in the fourth quarter.
McCollum, however, provided a little insight to his backcourt mate's mindset.
"Angry Dame," McCollum said. "He was an angry man out there tonight. That's what we need. We need him to be aggressive, assertive, play with a chip on his shoulder.
"He carried us tonight. He hit big shots. He defended. He made hustle plays. He didn't turn the ball over. He played like an All-Star tonight."
Lillard was 18 of 28 from the field, 9 of 12 from 3-point range and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. He had seven assists, a career-high six steals and no turnovers in 31 minutes. In a 5:18 span in the fourth quarter, Lillard was 7 of 8 from the field, including 5 of 5 on 3-point shots. Continued...