Damian Lillard etched his name further into the NBA record books on Sunday night, as he became the eighth player in league history to score 70 or more points in a game, as he poured in 71 on Houston in a 131-114 Blazers win at home.
Lillard had it going early and never relented against the young Rockets, piling up an outrageous 41 points in the first half, setting a new career-high for 24 minutes of action, drilling eight threes in the first two quarters.
The highlight of the first half was on that eighth triple, when he pulled up from 39 feet and found nothing but net.
He would add nine points in the third quarter to reach 50 going to the final frame, but Houston was hanging around, which proved to be a gift to all of us. There, in the fourth quarter, Lillard painted his masterpiece, helping keep Houston at arm’s reach as he buried bucket after bucket, starting with his 10th three of the game shortly after checking back in.
Later, he’d knock down his 11th three of the game and the most surprising highlight of his night, an and-1 dunk that had the Moda Center crowd losing its mind.
Two more threes got him up to 69 points — with some free throws in between — as he cruised past his old career-high of 61.
Finally, he’d crest the 70-point mark for the first time with a floater in the paint.
Lillard’s final stat line read 71 points on 22-of-38 shooting, 13-of-22 from three-point range, with 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and with the Rockets cutting the lead down to single digits in the fourth, the Blazers needed most all of those before eventually running away with a comfortable win. He is now third on the NBA’s all-time list for 60-point games in a career with five, behind Kobe Bryant (6) and Wilt Chamberlain (32, lol).
It was an incredible night and one that Blazers fans will remember for a long time, as one of this era’s great scorers authored the best game of his career to date.