Damian Lillard continues to carry the Blazers

Published March 5, 2021, 11:50 AMRenee Ticzon

Damian Lillard is truly one of the best in the NBA, and there is no doubt that Portland will be great down the stretch because of him.

Dame Time, Dame D.O.L.L.A., Big Game Dame, Damian Lillard. He may go by different names, but one thing is for sure – this man is nothing short of extraordinary.

Lillard's career started out in 2012 when he got drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers. Since that first season, where he ended up winning Rookie of the Year, Lillard has been the face of the Blazers' franchise. He has become a 6-time All-Star and and has made seven playoffs appearances in nine seasons with Portland.

Averaging 24.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.6 assists throughout his career, Lillard continues to carry the Blazers on his shoulders. 

The final moments of the Blazers' game against the Warriors on Thursday is an example of this. It was a scene all too familiar for Portland fans. Lillard had the ball with just seconds left on the clock. He squared up his opponent and fired a deep 3-pointer. Swish. Win for the Blazers.

How many times have we seen him do that? Interestingly, not a lot of people know that the development of his signature bucket—which people refer to as the "logo shot"—came solely out of necessity. As Dame became the best player on the Trail Blazers’ team, he had to expand his range because he was constantly being double-teamed. It was so hard for him to get open looks as a 6’3 point guard in today’s NBA.

By focusing on the deep 3, it gave him the ability to pull the defense out. Instead of focusing on the paint and a little over the arc, Dame would force his opponents to follow him from the logo, opening up the defense and giving his team more room to execute. 

“It was just about trying to make it more difficult to defend me,” Lillard mentioned in one interview.

Last season, Lilliard made 54 shots from 30+ feet, with a 41.5 percent effectiveness rate. But more than the deep 3-pointers, Lillard has been keeping the Blazers, who have been playing way better than they were expected to, afloat this season. This team’s overachievement is directly linked to Lillard's extraordinary individual season.


Lillard currently ranks 3rd in the NBA in scoring (29.4 points) and is no. 1 in clutch points, evident in the several times he's bailed out the Blazers in clutch situations this year. They are 5th in the Western Conference with a 20-14 record, despite playing without key stars CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.

Prior to his injury, McCollum was already having the best start of his career. In the 13 games he played, he was averaging 26.7 points on 47.3 percent shooting from the field, with 3.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Unfortunately, he suffered a hairline fracture in his left foot that has kept him absent from games ever since. Add that to Nurkic's and Zach Collins' injuries. 

Portland has definitely had their fair share of troubles and heartaches because of their injuries. Luckily for them, their main man has thrived under pressure and has always carried them through adversity.

Dame is doing more than just keeping the Blazers afloat, he is practically securing the franchise a playoffs spot on his own. What Lillard does for the Blazers is nothing short of amazing. Many believe he should've been an All-Star starter this year, but sometimes when people are used to you delivering game-winners like it’s nothing, people begin to take you for granted. Which is madness. 

Damian Lillard is truly one of the best in the NBA. With the amount of mental toughness this guy has, there is no doubt that Portland will be great down the stretch because they have a guy like Lillard.