It's just getting ridiculous at this point.
Like clockwork, Dame time struck once again in Portland, as the Blazers star poured in 15 points in the final period to lift his team to a 123-119 win over Sacramento.
The final quarter explosion was the latest piece of presentable evidence to suggest that the dynamic guard is indeed the league's most clutch player .
Entering the game with a simply absurd true shooting percentage of 83 in the clutch this season - the last five minutes of a five-point game -, Lillard was 4-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line in the final five minutes to close out the Kings. The six-time All-Star now leads the league in overall fourth quarter scoring with 8.0 points per game on 47/43/94 shooting splits.
EVERY NIGHT THIS MAN DOES THIS pic.twitter.com/q7t19qpRgO- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 5, 2021
The masterclass was made up of trademark bombs from the outside and slithering drives to the basket for nifty lay-ups. To put it simply, he dominated Sacramento when it mattered from all over the floor.
Ranked dead last for defensive efficiency league wide , the Kings are an easy target for someone as skilled as Lillard, but to be fair, it doesn't really matter who is guarding him in a close game down the stretch, he just gets buckets.
🔥 44 PTS for @Dame_Lillard- NBA (@NBA) March 5, 2021
🔥 15 in the 4th Q
🔥 Personal 10-0 run down the stretch to lift the @trailblazers
Dame enters the #NBAAllStar break in typical Dame style. pic.twitter.com/oScvYfYSYt
The 44 points equalled a season-high for Lillard and was the fourth time this season he has topped the 40-point plateau. The 30-year-old finished 13-for-26 from the field and 8-for-15 from the 3-point line while dishing out seven assists and not a single turnover.
Handing Lillard a major assist was Enes Kanter, who sparked the Portland defence down the stretch and posted a monster line of 22 points and 21 rebounds in 34 minutes.
The win lifts Portland into the fifth seed in the Western Conference with a 20-14 record. A remarkable achievement when you consider lengthy stints on the sideline already this season for CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic among other key rotation pieces.
"We are going to be a very, very scary team when we get Nurk back, CJ back and all the other guys back," Kanter said with a smile on the postgame show. "I just feel bad for the other teams that got to guard us.
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