Damian Lillard went absolutely nuts on the Kings Friday night, in Sacramento, to the tune of 50 points on 26 shots attempts, in just 29 minutes. He didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter, and didn’t need to, because the Kings are sad and awful, and also because the game was never close after Lillard ended the third quarter by knocking down his eighth three-pointer of the game:
Per Basketball Reference, this was just the third time since 2000 that a player has scored 50 or more points in a game in which he played fewer than 30 minutes. Amazingly, it was done one other time this season by a fellow Trail Blazer: C.J. McCollum went for 50 points on 25 shots in 29 minutes back in January, when he scored 28 in the first quarter against the Bulls. Lotta scoring firepower in that Portland backcourt.
Goddamn, Damian Lillard is so fun. He has in common with maybe only Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant that virtually no even slightly open three-pointer taken inside of half court can be considered a bad shot—in this game, Lillard first got onto the board with a pull-up off-the-dribble three-pointer from, I dunno, 28 feet? His damn foot was on the half court logo when he started his gather. That had to be a chilling moment for Kings fans—oh God we’re dead. We are dead.
They were, in fact, dead. Lillard poured in 22 points in the third quarter to help extend Portland’s halftime lead out to 18 points, and he did it on an absolutely vicious combination of contested threes and knifing drives against overmatched defenders. A few of Lillard’s threes were truly rude and irresponsible, the kinds of shots that encourage hasty, panicked close-outs, which Lillard then spent the third quarter attacking and beating. The Kings’ utter lack of bonafide rotation-grade talent notwithstanding, it’s not clear what the hell an opposing defense is supposed to do when Lillard is coolly stepping into 28-footers and also ripping past defenders for muscular straight-lines drives. It’s not fair! When he’s feeling it, Lillard is absolutely one of the most electrifying offensive players in basketball.