It’s time for us to have an honest conversation about Damian Lillard.
We have to recognize him as one of the greatest clutch players to ever play the game. It’s only right.
In a pivotal Game 5 against the Nuggets that went to double overtime, Lillard dropped 55 points on 70 percent shooting from the field and 70 percent from 3-point land, including TWO game-tying threes in the final 10 seconds. One of which was in regulation and the other was in overtime.
He finished with a playoff record of 12 three-pointers in one game and became the first player with at least 50 points, 10 assists, and 10 threes in an NBA game.
This man literally had professional basketball players praying to their Lord and Savior for mercy from Lillard’s three-point barrage.
Lillard’s all-time great performance begs us to ask the question of where this man stands among the most clutch NBA performers ever. To me, he’s done enough to be considered in the same conversation as Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller on the top of that list.
You have to remember how he sent Houston home packing in the 2014 playoffs as a young player, that 40 something footer against OKC where he waved Russell Westbrook and Paul George goodbye, and the countless other times he’s shown up in the clutch.
They call it “Dame Time” for a reason.
The Mount Rushmore of NBA clutchness probably goes as such Jordan, Miller, Lillard, and either Robert Horry, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James. Personally, I like to give preference to star players who show up in clutch moments ‘cause of the increased level of defensive attention and pressure that is applied to them in those moments. But Horry has to be in the discussion because he’s ripped teams’ hearts out way too many times.
Honestly, Lillard, Miller, and Jordan are probably in a conversation of their own in this category and you can rank them how you deem fit. But what you can’t deny is that Lillard deserves an argument made on his behalf for his play in these moments throughout his career.
It’s getting ridiculous at this point. If you are not sending two people at Dame in the final seconds of the game, I’m questioning your entire coaching staff.
Give this man his respect and put his name in the convo with the all-time greats.