Damian Lillard Continues MVP-Level Play, Hits Game-Winner Against Pelicans

By Matthew Zimmer

Another night, another historic performance from Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. However, this time it wasn’t just the scoring.

Lillard did have a prolific night offensively with 43 points, but he also dished out career-high-tying 16 assists. The last two times Lillard had 16 assists, the Blazers lost.

Last August, in the bubble against Boston, Lillard had 30 points and 16 assists, and Portland lost 128-124. In December 2016, he scored 24 points with the 16 assists, and the Blazers lost to the Kings 126-121.

However, Wednesday night had a different ending, yet another Dame Time game-winner.

Lillard is on a tear, and he’s finally getting nationwide MVP hype. Against New Orleans, the Trail Blazers trailed 105-103 when Terry Stotts brought Lillard off the bench.

Immediately, he hit a three and then grabbed a defensive rebound. Lillard scored 21 of Portland’s last 23 points over the final 7:23 of the game.

The only points he wasn’t responsible for was an Anfernee Simons layup.

As mentioned at the top, Lillard finished with 43 points and 16 assists, which linked him to some pretty impressive names.

The other four players to reach at least 43 points and 16 assists in a game are James Harden (who did it twice), Isiah Thomas Oscar Robertson (who did it three times) and Trae Young.

Lillard also became the first Blazer with at least 40 points and 15 assists since Clyde “The Glide” Drexler did it in 1986.

Not to be overlooked, even though I’m not mentioning them until now, is the performances from the rest of the team.

There were five other players in double digits scoring, including Carmelo Anthony with 12 off the bench. All other four starters scored in double figures; Gary Trent Jr. 23 points, Derrick Jones Jr. 13 points, Robert Covington 12 points, and Enes Kanter 11 points.

Over the three-game road trip, this is what the non-Lillard Blazers have done.

The team now returns home for a date with the Washington Wizards this weekend before another three-game road trip.

Blazers-Wizards tips off at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday.

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