"I've never been in this type of rhythm in my life."
After his most recent scoring exploit, a 51-point performance against the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard couldn't help but admit he's reached uncharted territory on a personal level.
To be fair, no one has ever done what he's doing right now. Ever.
36 points, 6 threes, 10 rebounds, 11 assists- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 3, 2020
48 points, 7 threes, 9 rebounds, 10 assists
51 points, 9 threes, 2 rebounds, 12 assists
Highlights from @dame_lillard's incredible week 🎥 pic.twitter.com/ovjSXbJqSF
Over the past six games, Lillard's averaging 48.8 points, 10.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds, all while shooting 54.8% from the field and 57.0% from beyond the arc. These are, quite literally, video-game numbers.
Like, playing on Rookie with the sliders on 100 video-game numbers. And they're very real.
What started with a 61-point performance against the Golden State Warriors on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has now become one of the greatest individual stretches in NBA history:
|1/20 vs. GSW||61||17||37||.459||11||20||.550||7||10||W, 129-124|
|1/23 vs. DAL||47||16||28||.571||8||15||.533||8||6||L, 133-125|
|1/26 vs. IND||50||14||23||.609||8||12||.667||13||6||W, 139-129|
|1/29 vs. HOU||36||11||21||.524||6||12||.500||11||10||W, 125-112|
|1/31 @ LAL||48||17||30||.567||7||12||.583||10||9||W, 127-119|
|2/1 vs. UTA||51||17||29||.586||9||15||.600||12||2||W, 124-107|
From his scoring to his efficiency to his playmaking, pick a stat and it jumps off the page because of how ridiculous it looks.
To put it all in perspective:
- Lillard is the first player in NBA history to average over 45 points and 10 assists in any six-game span (per Elias Sports).
- He has scored 293 points over the last six games. Only three players (Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden) have scored more points over a six-game span (per Justin Kubatko, StatMuse).
- His 49 3-pointers are the most in a six-game span in NBA history…and he's doing it at a 57.0% clip.
- On Jan. 20, he became the first player in NBA history to score 60 or more points and hit 10 or more 3s in the same game.
- Lillard is the first player in NBA history to make six or more threes in six-straight games.
- He's also shooting 13-for-21 (61.9%) from 30-40 feet during this span.
Just look at this shot chart:
And he's still going.
After earning Player of the Week honours for the second consecutive week, Lillard and the Trail Blazers are back in action four times this week as they take on the Nuggets, Spurs, Jazz and Heat.
Can he keep it up against the Nuggets? In seven games off of two-days rest this season, Lillard is averaging 34.9 points, 8.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds and shooting 49.7% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc, including his big games against the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets during his current stretch.
While the Nuggets' defence is currently ranked No. 12 in the league, Lillard has already carved through top-10 defences in the Pacers (No. 9), Jazz (No. 8) and Lakers (No. 4) during this span.
After its trip to Denver, Portland returns home to host San Antonio, a team that has given up 35-plus points to three guards this season: James Harden (50), Luka Doncic (42) Spencer Dinwiddie (41) and Devin Booker (37, 35).
Lillard is averaging 25.0 points in two games vs. the Spurs this season but shot just 27.7% from the field and 21.1% from deep. Given Lillard's recent run, however, conventional wisdom and history might as well go out of the window when thinking of what he might do next.
Next up, the Blazers will be in Utah to take on their Northwest Divisional foe less than a week after Lillard went for 51 points.
With that memory fresh on their minds, the Jazz could look to make things difficult for Lillard at Vivint Smart Home Arena, a building where he scored 34 points while shooting 7-for-13 from deep earlier in the season.
Ultimately, it boils down to winning for Lillard and the Blazers, who are now two games out of the West's final playoff spot after going 5-1 during Lillard's insane six-game stretch.
He'll eventually cool off (or at least deviate back to the norm) but Lillard's run could be enough to make up the difference by season's end.
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