Blazers waste Damian Lillard’s latest historic NBA playoff performance in loss to Nuggets
Damian Lillard put on another all-time playoff performance.
It still wasn't enough for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lillard poured in a playoff career-high 55 points Tuesday in an otherworldly shooting display, but the Denver Nuggets prevailed 147-140 in a double overtime thriller to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series. MVP favorite Nikola Jokic had 38 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Nuggets, who can close out the series in Game 6 on Thursday in Portland.
Lillard was the star of the night despite the loss. He shot 17-of-24 from the field overall, including an NBA playoff-record 12 3-pointers, in 52 minutes. He also added 10 assists for the first 55-point, 10-assist game in postseason history.
"It don't matter, we lost the game," Lillard said. "At this point, all that matters is that we can't lose another game in the series."
Clutch triple after clutch triple in Dame Time…
Damian Lillard pours in an #NBAPlayoffs record 12 threes en route to the first 55-point, 10-assist game in postseason history.
17-24 FGM | 12-17 3PM
Game 6: Thursday at 8pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/3jEroiaJUP
Denver led by as many as 22 in the first half, but Lillard helped Portland rally to within three by the break. He hit huge shot after huge shot to keep the Blazers in the game down the stretch. His step-back, 28-foot 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 121 and sent it to overtime. Lillard then scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the extra periods. His 12th 3 put the Blazers up 140-138 with 3:47 left in the second OT. However, Lillard was shut out the rest of the way as the Nuggets did all they could to force the ball out of his hands.
"It was the best playoff performance I've ever seen," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "He gave it his all. He made a lot of shots.
"We're all disappointed. I have empathy for Dame. I have empathy for anybody on our team. But now's not the time for empathy. Now's the time to regroup and come back and get Game 6. We can't feel sorry for ourselves."
“All that matters is that we can’t lose another game in this series.”
Dame on Portland’s 2OT loss in Denver. pic.twitter.com/8K9VfVPNgm
The rest of the Blazers scored just two points on 1-of-14 shooting in the two overtimes.
"It's a shame we wasted one of the all-time best performances by not being more supportive of him," said C.J. McCollum, who had 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting.
It was the latest epic performance for Lillard, who has hit some of the most memorable shots in NBA playoff history, including two series-winning buzzer-beaters. He sent the Houston Rockets home in Game 6 of the 2014 playoffs. He then famously waved the Oklahoma City Thunder off the floor after knocking down a 35-footer in Paul George's face in 2019.
"It was a tough loss, man," Lillard said. "It's do or die now. We gotta win both of the next two games if we want our season to continue. It's as simple as that."
State of the series: Nuggets lead 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday in Portland (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
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