The Oklahoma City Thunder are out of the playoffs because Damian Lillard decided to send them home. Lillard had perhaps the best game of his playoff career on Tuesday night in Portland, including a buzzer beater three to break a tie and give the Trail Blazers a thrilling 118-115 victory, both on the night and in the series.
Lillard scored 50 points, pulled down seven rebounds, doled out six assists, and accrued three steals. The moment of the night, though, came at the end of a frantic final minute. Following a Russell Westbrook miss during a tied game, Lillard had the chance to push the ball, but instead, wanted to hold onto it, milk the clock, and go for broke.
Here is what happened. I still have chills.
It’s not the first time Lillard has done something like this, as he knocked the Houston Rockets out of the playoffs with a three as time expired in 2014.
Lillard played this entire series like a man possessed, seemingly doing everything he could to go right at Russell Westbrook and shut up any doubters who might not think he’s an elite player. He managed to do just that, and because the All-Star guard has a flair for the dramatic that few other basketball players can match, he managed to do that by saving his very best for last.
With the win, the Blazers will move on to face either the Denver Nuggets or the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. With Lillard in their corner, Portland very well might be the favorite to punch their ticket to the conference finals.