Lillard Hits Landmark in Loss to Raptors
TORONTO – Damian Lillard crossed the border, then passed the 10,000-point mark, but it wasn’t enough to topple the Raptors on Friday night. Toronto claimed the win over Portland, 130-105, in front of a sellout crowd of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre.
“They played really well, and we didn’t play very well,” said Head Coach Terry Stotts. “They shot the three very well, offensive rebounds. Some of it was our doing, but I thought the Raptors played very well and we didn’t have many answers for them.”
The Trail Blazers dropped their first game since Jan. 22 at Denver and slid back a game to 29-23 (14-13 on the road). While Portland snapped its season-best four-game winning streak, the Trail Blazers have still won seven of their past nine games as the road trip continues in Boston on Sunday.
Lillard scored 32 points in all on 11-for-18 shooting from the field, while adding a game-best 10 assists. He reached the 30-point, 10-assist totals for the 12th time in his career, only behind Clyde Drexler’s 19 such games in team history. But it was his 10,000th point that made the real history Friday night.
“I always attribute those things to the amount of work that I put into it, and how much time I spend working on my game, and how committed I am to being a better player each year,” said Lillard on the milestone. “But also Coach Stotts from Day 1 giving me the opportunity to play free, make mistakes. Just having that faith and that trust in me from the jump. And I think that has as much to do with it as my effort.”
Friday night began with a 37-18 score in favor of Toronto after quarter number one that surged into a 49-20 margin midway through the second period. Portland used a 17-2 run to narrow the margin to 51-37 before Toronto quickly pushed the lead back up to 74-52 at the break.
Portland made another run late in the third quarter, but couldn’t get any closer than 93-78 late in the period.
DAME JOINS AN EXCLUSIVE CLUB
Damian Lillard didn’t waste any time surpassing his latest milestone. The 6-3 point guard out of Weber State scored each of Portland’s first nine points and finished the first quarter with 12, good for an even 10,000 in his standout career.
With tonight being his 441st career game, Lillard became the fastest Trail Blazer to reach five digits and it isn’t particularly close. Clyde Drexler previously held the title when he eclipsed the 10,000-point mark in his 500th game.
And while Lillard made his mark in short order, it’s the company he keeps that may be even more impressive. He becomes one of just four active players to score 10,000 points in his first six seasons, joining some of the best in the game today – LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Lillard also adds his name to some of history’s finest as one of eight players all-time with 10,000 points and 2,500 assists in his first six seasons – LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tiny Archibald, Pete Maravich, Dave Bing and Oscar Robertson.
“A lot of people deserve some of the credit for it, but it’s something that I’m really happy about and now I’ve just got to keep on moving up," said Lillard.
In the second quarter, Lillard’s 16th point moved him up Portland’s scoring ledger once more this season, passing Jim Paxson for sixth on the franchise list. His total at the end of the night came to 10,020. Next up: Jerome Kersey in fifth place at 10,067.
- Fresh off a career-high 50-point breakout, McCollum kept his fine shooting going with a 9-for-16 shooting effort for 21 points.
- Jusuf Nurkic tallied 15 of his 20 points in the first half. He made eight of his 11 attempts from the floor on the night.
- Demar Derozan led all scorers with 35 points, including six 3-pointers on 10 attempts. He posted 26 of those points before halftime.
- Toronto’s 130 points marked a new season high for a Trail Blazers opponent.
- The Trail Blazers have now lost six straight matchups with the Raptors.
- Toronto improves its home mark this season to 20-4, best in the NBA.
- Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic combined for 44 of Portland’s 52 first half points on 17-for-28 field goal shooting.
- Toronto outscored Portland from beyond the 3-point arc by 36 points (19-7), ending the evening 19-for-40 from distance.
- The Raptors committed just a single turnover in the first half.
“10,000 points and 2,500 assists. I mean the group of names – LeBron, Michael, Bird, Archibald, Maravich, Bing, Robertson. It’s quite a list. All Hall of Famers, except for LeBron and I think he has a chance to get in too…I just need to acknowledge what he’s done so far in six years, and what he’s been for the team, for the franchise. I don’t want anybody to take for granted.” – Coach Stotts on Damian Lillard
The Trail Blazers swing down to Boston for the second of a three-game trip against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics on Sunday. Rip City can sit down to brunch with the Blazers as the Super Bowl Sunday tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.