New Milestones On The Horizon For Lillard, Anthony After Win Versus Warriors

by Casey Holdahl
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Friday night in San Francisco, both Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard surpassed impressive career milestones in the Trail Blazers 123-98 win versus the Golden State Warriors.

For Anthony, it was passing Tim Duncan for 14th in NBA history in scoring. With his final make of the game, a fourth-quarter corner three-pointer, Anthony finished his 1,126th regular season game with 26,499 career points to move past the Hall of Fame Spurs center.

“That was a great night,” said Anthony, who finished the game with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting. “I would say that was a really great moment. I found out after I hit that corner three, I went to the bench. Prior to that I was asking to come out of the game to get some rest, but again just passing someone like Tim Duncan and knowing what he brought to the game, what he established within the game of basketball and what he was able to do throughout his career, the championships, the legend that he is.”

What’s more, Anthony, a legend in his own right, is very likely to pass a few more luminaries on the scoring list this season. He’s just 169 points away from surpassing Dominique Wilkins for 13th all-time and 211 away from Oscar Robertson for 12th. At his current scoring average for this season, Anthony would pass Wilkins some time in February and Robertson some time shortly after that. Even reaching Hakeem Olajuwon at 11th all-time with 26,946 points is within the realm of possibility this season, thanks in large part to Carmelo’s passion to keep playing in his 17th season.

“I’m just happy to continue to do what I love to do, be out here still doing it at this stage in my career, at this age,” said Anthony in his post-game interview with Brooke Olzendam Friday night. “I’m still enjoying the game and having fun with the game. I still love to play the game and I think it shows out there on the basketball court.”

As for Lillard, with 34 points Friday night, he surpassed the 15,000 point mark for his career, all of which has been spent in Portland with the Trail Blazers. He joins Clyde Drexler as the only players in franchise history to score at least 15,000 points, further cementing his status as one of the all-time greats in Rip City.

“Fifteen thousand (points) is a huge accomplishment, something that I’m proud of,” said Lillard, “but my work is far from done.”

Lillard, whose six three-pointers Friday night moved him into 19th in NBA history with 1,793 triples, already had his sights set on surpassing Drexler in scoring prior to getting over the 15,000 mark. The 6-3 guard in his ninth season out of Weber State is already in the Top 10 of nearly every important statistical category in franchise history, and is Top 3 or better in assists, field goals, free throws and three-pointers, so even if he never played another game again, he’d still have a claim as one of the greatest Trail Blazers of all time.

But he has every intention of making sure there’s no debate once his career is over. He currently trails Drexler in scoring by a little over 3,000 points, and at his current averages and with the assumption of good health, Lillard would close in on that mark some time either late next season or early in 2022-23.

But while Lillard, as committed to the franchise as any player in team history, wants to get the top spot in scoring, his goal is to leave a legacy in Portland that goes beyond points.

“I’m gonna pass him. I don’t know when, but I’m gonna pass him. I got to continue to take care of myself and continue to work on my game and just be myself and stay healthy. I know that that’s gonna happen. It is a goal, I want to get to that point and even go past that. If I focus on continuing to improve and continuing to win and try to bring what I want to bring to this city and this organization, I know that is going to come, along with a lot of other things.

“I wouldn’t say I focus on that, but it’s definitely something that I’m aware of and something I want on my belt. I’ll continue to be me and continue to work towards all the things I want to accomplish as a Trail Blazer. And it’ll come.”


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