Damian Lillard Scores 50 In Less than 30 Minutes, Trail Blazers Roll Past Kings 118-100
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard went off at Golden 1 Center. He scored 50 points to help beat the Sacramento Kings. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Feb. 9, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. —Just like many NBA players, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t care about how the Sacramento Kings are trying to rebuild their franchise. His focus is to get Portland deep into the playoffs.
Lillard had a season-high 50-points, six assists, three steals and made 8 of 13 3-point shots to lead the Trail Blazers 118-100 over the Kings at Golden 1 Center. Portland won its second game in as many nights, knocking off the Charlotte Hornets 109-103 in overtime at the Moda Center before arriving in Sacramento.
The All-Star Lillard had 14 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second, and 22 in the third quarter. He made 8 of 15 shots from the field in the third frame and knocked down three treys. Before the fourth quarter, he did all this damage in 29 minutes and thirty seconds.
Lillard made 6 of 22 shots from the floor and finished with 18 points in the overtime win over the Hornets. Kemba Walker had 40 points for Charlotte. Those features gave him an incentive to play better against the Kings.
“Typically in my career, when I come off a bad shooting night the way I shot last night, I shot the ball better,” Lillard said. “Tonight, I think it was that mixed with a certain level of aggressiveness and urgency with us needing to win this game.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision. Footage by T. Ray Harvey
The Trail Blazers led 92-74 to start the fourth quarter, but the Kings (17-37) came back from being 21 points in the hole when Buddy Hield made a 3-point shot to cut the margin 104-91. Portland head coach Terry Stotts was going to put to put Lillard back in the game with 5:52 left to play, but Mo Harkless made trey on the next basket.
Stotts pulled Lillard, who was waiting to get back into the game at the scorer’s table, called him back to the bench. The Kings were never a threat again. Kings coach Dave Joerger said the best defense on Lillard was played in the fourth quarter.
“It was a tough night. Damian Lillard was fantastic,” Joerger said jokingly of Lillard’s absence on the floor. “We did a super job on him in the fourth quarter where we held him scoreless.”
Lillard’s 50 points marks the third time this season a player has scored at least that many through three quarters. Lillard's’ teammate CJ McCollum and Houston Rockets’ James Harden in the club, too.
A lot of players tried their hands at defending Lillard, but rookie De’Aaron Fox got the brunt of the assignment. Fox had 13 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds in nearly 34 minutes. He knows when a player like Lillard is in a zone he’s difficult to tame.
“He just had it going,” Fox said of Lillard. “When I guard got it going like that it's tough to stop. All you can do is try to contain him. It's not much you can do about it.”
Portland head coach Terry Stotts said his team need an extra tank of energy on the second night of a back-to-back. Lillard looked like he was operating on rocket fuel. He also made all 10 of his free throws.
“Dames’ Dame,” Stotts said. “I think he knew he was in a rhythm. You see a couple go in and he was efficient. The way he was shooting it, he knew he had a good feel tonight.”
Harkless contributed 15 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal for the Trail Blazers (31-25) while Shabazz Napier added 13 points, three rebounds, and two steals. Napier made all five of his shots from field.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 19 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocked shots for the Kings, who finished a four-game homestand 1-3. Seven players scored in double figures for Sacramento. Zach Randolph had 17, Buddy Hield added 16 points, and Justin Jackson, Kostas Koufos, and Bogdan Bogdanovic made 10 points each.
Imana Shumpert, who was traded from Cleveland to Sacramento, was in the Kings' locker room, but did not speak to the media.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.