Lillard Sets Career, Franchise High Of 60 In Loss To Nets
PORTLAND -- Despite Damian Lillard setting both the franchise high mark and a new career best in scoring, the Trail Blazers fell 119-115 to the Brooklyn Nets in front of a sellout crowd of 20,089 Friday night at the Moda Center.
"It's disappointing losing any game," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "We’re 0-3 at home and a four-game losing streak – they’re all disappointing, but obviously Dame was exceptional tonight. He carried us to at least put us in a position to win the game. It is disappointing but like I’ve said, Dame’s a special player. He shoulders a lot of responsibility for us.”
The Trail Blazers are now 3-6 overall and have yet to win a game at home in their first three tries. Portland has also lost four-straight, something they avoided all of last season.
Lillard finished the game with 60 points, the most points scored by any player in Trail Blazers' history, on 19-of-33 shooting from the field, 7-of-16 shooting from three and 15-of-15 shooting from the free throw line. He scored 34 points in the second half, leading a charge that saw Portland go up by as many as five points in the fourth quarter after trailing for the majority of the game.
But the 6-3 guard out of Weber State got little help Friday night. With Lillard gassed in the fourth, the Nets went on a 17-2 run to take their largest lead of the night at 115-105 with 1:41 to play.
Lillard dug deep for a bit more, going on a personal 7-0 run to cut the lead back to three, but there was only so much one man could do. On the next possession, Kyrie Irving was able to hit a tough fadeaway jumper over Anfernee Simons to push the advantage back to five with 17.8 seconds to play. All that was left was Lillard making a three-pointer at the buzzer to set a new career and franchise bests in the losing effort.
"I think we’re in position to win games and we’re in position in the third quarter, in the fourth quarter and you’ve got to be present mentally and physically," said Lillard. "You’ve got to be willing to do a little bit more than the other team to win games. I think we compete, I think we are together, I think we’re trying to do all the right things, but that little bit of wanting it more than the other team and wanting it more doesn’t mean playing harder. It means being able to be sharp one more possession, being able to do your job when you’re tired and when you’re wearing down, being able to count on the next guy to do his job and trust him to do that so you do your job right."
Lillard's 60 Friday night are the most scored by an NBA player this season. It was Lillard's sixth career game of at least 50 points, while his 19 made field goals are also a new career high.
Simons finished with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting, four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes. Hassan Whiteside was the only other Trail Blazer to score in double figures, going for 10 points and 15 rebounds for the double-double.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie combined for 67 of Brooklyn's 119 points. Joe Harris added 14 and Jarrett Allen 12.
• Portland shot a season-high 96.0% (24-25) from the FT line, outpacing Brooklyn’s 70.0% (21-30). Portland’s 24 made free-throws were a season high.
• The Trail Blazers had a season-high nine blocks.
• The Trail Blazers had double digit offensive rebounds (13) for the fourth time this season.• Portland won the transition battle, outscoring Brooklyn 14-11 in fast break points.
• Both teams recorded 48 points in the pain
"He had a lot of energy. I thought he made some momentum plays. I liked his athleticism, his dunks, he got the crowd into the game, got our bench into it. Down the stretch, he made some defensive mistakes which is tough for rookies out there, but for him to get his first real opportunity in an NBA game, I thought he really provided a spark." -- Terry Stotts on the play of rookie Nassir Little
For the first time this season, the Blazers follow up one home game with another by hosting the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.