Entering the 2016-17 season, no NBA player had ever scored 50 points in 30 minutes or fewer. That’s 70 years. Never happened. Then Golden State’s Klay Thompson broke through, getting it done on Dec. 5, 2016 vs. Indiana.
Fast forward to 2017-18, and it happens again. Twice. By players on the same team. In the span of 10 days. CJ McCollum needed fewer than 30 minutes to score 50 at home against Chicago, somehow managing to accomplish one of few remaining feats his All-Star teammate had not…until Friday night.
“Damian was outstanding. Very efficient," said Head Coach Terry Stotts on Lillard’s 50 points (16-26 FG, 8-13 3-PT, 10-10 FT) in Sacramento. "He had a good rhythm from the very beginning. To have another 50-point scorer in under 30 minutes is pretty impressive."
Fifty points. Thirty minutes. That’s like scoring one point every 36 seconds. Or 80 points in a full 48 minutes. So it’s no wonder Lillard joins some exclusive company.
"Welcome my boy to the club,” said McCollum. “Illustrious group. Me, Dame, Klay. There’s not a lot of us out there. Felt good to see him do it."
The only other pair of teammates to each score 50 points in a game within a 10-day span were Boston’s Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in 1984-85, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. And Portland’s stars didn’t see any fourth quarter action. That’s 100 points in six quarters between them.
“I saw we were up 20 and I was like, ‘OK, if we keep this lead, there’s really no reason to go back in there.’ I’d rather have 50 in 29 minutes with some character than go out there and chase 60,” said Lillard.
Even the coach on the other sideline had some fun with Dame’s game.
“Tough night,” said Kings Head Coach Dave Joerger. “Damian Lillard was fantastic – I thought we did a super job on him in the fourth quarter, where we held him scoreless.”