The Portland Trail Blazers ought to think long and hard about how to appease Damian Lillard should they lose their first-round series to the Nuggets.
Consistently building around a superstar is already a major part of running an NBA front office, but after the Blazers lost on Tuesday night despite Lillard’s 55-point output, Portland is on thin ice.
Lillard isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet. But he has every right to be unhappy with his teammates after they left him out to dry in Denver. The stats say it all.
Dame Time is cute and all, but when it doesn’t lead to playoff victories and, eventually, perhaps an NBA Finals appearance, one has to question if it’s time to head elsewhere.
NBA Playoffs: Damian Lillard’s historic performance came in a loss to Nuggets
Lillard’s playoff performance will go down in basketball lore as one of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s a shame, however, he doesn’t even get to celebrate it like the rest of us.
The 30-year-old doubled his shot output in points. While every Blazers starter scored in double figures, virtually none of that support came in overtime. CJ McCollum stepped out of bounds rather than giving Lillard the ball for a potential game-tying shot. The Blazers also missed a wide-open dunk that would’ve given Lillard his 11th assist in double-overtime. How many misses can one player handle?
The Nuggets are a solid team, and one that’s very tough to beat at home. But they don’t have Jamal Murray.
The high altitude in Denver makes a contest this long virtually impossible to stay fresh for. Lillard did his best, and delivered an instant classic performance. Meanwhile, his teammates ran out of gas and never made it to double OT.
Should Portland lose in Game 6, or Game 7 for that matter, it’d be tough to blame Dame for at least demanding the front office bring him more help.