Weber State University’s own Damian Lillard is a force to be reckoned with.
He has the clutch gene.
Most recently, Dame hit a half court buzzer beater against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The skilled Blazers point guard dropped hit a 37-foot three-pointer with no time remaining to give his team a 118-115 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With that shot, Lillard and the Blazers advanced to the next round and defeated the Denver Nuggets.
Portland eventually lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
Way beyond Lillard’s buzzer beater this spring, he had a whole ‘nother life.
First and foremost the point guard averaged 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 80 games during last year’s regular season while also guiding Rip City to a 53-29,record and a third seed in the NBA Playoffs.
But I digress. Lillard was who he was before he got there.
He hit a buzzer beater to the beat the Houston Rockets in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. That game winner was during the James Harden, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons era of Clutch City basketball.
Million Dollar Question: What version of Lillard did it better?
“The second one,” Lillard told me.
For reference: The shot that Lillard is referring to the buzzer beater that he hit against the Thunder this past spring.
“I say the second one it wasn’t a tougher shot because the other one I was running full speed like a deep three. It was solid defense on it and it was for 50 points. It gave me 50.”
Lillard has the respect of many throughout the NBA. He’s due it.
Just ask Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach, Jason Kidd.
Kidd like Lillard represents Oakland, California.
“Nobody’s really talking about them,” he said.
“They’re playing at a very high level. Lillard is playing at a very high level. If you’re healthy and shooting the ball the way they are, they can beat anybody.”
Kidd joins a litany of NBA royalty singining Lillard and the Blazers’ high praises.
“At his position, he is the number one guard in the league right now,” Portland Trail Blazers legend, Bonzi Wells told NBA scribe Landon Buford.
“What I love about Dame, he does so much for the community, he raps, a family guy and loyal to the soil that he grew up in.”
Wells played for Trail Blazers for six seasons, where he averaged 13.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Wells is in awe of Lillard. “He puts the work in on the court and isn’t all about talking with him,” he told Landon Buford.
“He goes out there and performs. That is what I respect about him. With that being said, that puts him above all guards in my opinion. What he did in that First Round [in the NBA Playoffs] against Paul George; who I know is a great defender and Russell Westbrook, who is a competitor; but he was able to put on a show like no other. That put him on the top of my list after that series.”
Lillard and the Blazers begin NBA training camp next month. The preseason and the NBA’s regular season begins next month.