Damian Lillard becomes the first player in NBA history to score 70+ points in under 40 minutes

(CNN) Damian Lillard set an NBA record on his monster scoring night on Sunday, racking up 71 points in 39 minutes, including 13 three-pointers, as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 121-114.

Through his efforts, Lillard became the first player in NBA history to score 70+ points in under 40 minutes and only the eighth player to reach the 70-point mark.

He is also the only player on this elite roster to score 70 over the age of 30, and the first to do so with 10 or more three-pointers.

“I enjoy those moments in the game where I’m just chasing people,” the NBA All-Star said after the game. “That was everything tonight. I wanted to be in attack mode. I threw it and stayed aggressive.”

Lillard entered the game averaging 37.6 points in his previous 18 games and continued that stellar run with a league-wide season high, matching Donovan Mitchell’s 71 points against the Chicago. Bulls in January.

Lillard started the scoring early, with 41 points, including eight three-pointers at halftime. Whether driving through the paint or throwing shots from range, the Blazers guard was unplayable.

He made all 14 of his free throw attempts and had a magnetic relationship with the basket when shooting — he even sank a ridiculous 36-foot jumper in the second quarter.

He finished the game shooting 22 of 38 from the field, making 13 3-pointers on 22 attempts – just one on Klay Thompson’s record 14 3-pointers set in 2018.

Lillard’s teammates kept looking for him in the final minutes to try and edge Mitchell’s tally, but after missing a few shots he came off the field exhausted with 44 seconds left.

“It was a really, really masterful performance,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said of his star’s game. “It was a work of art. It was amazing.”

All post-game celebrations for Lillard were cut short after he was picked for a drug test.

With this performance, Lillard entered a pantheon of NBA greats. His 71-point haul is tied for the eighth-most points scored in a game in NBA history, though still a far cry from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point record set in 1962.

Lillard is behind only Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant for 60-point career games and he joins the two NBA legends as the only players to have separate games reaching 50, 60 and 70 points in a season according to CBS Sports. .

“I think any hooper appreciates those times when you’re hot, you’re in attack mode, you feel good,” he said.

Not only was it a brilliant one-man show by Lillard, but it was also very much needed.

The Blazers snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and are keeping their slim hopes of a playoff berth alive. Portland now sits 11th in the Western Conference with a 29-31 record, but is just three games behind the Phoenix Suns in fourth.

The Trail Blazers remain on the West Coast for their next game as they travel to the Bay Area to face the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

Leave a Comment