Damn Damian…Damn Damian...DAMN DAMIAN…Back at it again with the series-clinching buzzer beater. Corny millennial pop culture reference aside, Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard sent his team to the next round of the 2018-2019 NBA playoffs when he sunk a jaw-dropping field goal from way behind the arc at the buzzer to break the tie and secure the victory in last night’s thrilling game five of the team’s first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder actually led for much of the night, but the herculean efforts of Lillard led the charge for the Trailblazers to come back and ultimately win the game on his back. Even before he took the last shot of the game, he was lethal from the perimeter all night, finishing 10-of-18 from three-point range which accounted for 30 of his game-high 50 points on the night.
The game was tied at 115-115 when the 6-3 Lillard, who was being guarded by 6-9 All-Star small/power forward Paul George, waited until the waning seconds of the game were about to hit all zeros to pull up from 37 feet to capture the 118-115 win and send his team to the next round of the postseason.
It was just the fifth time in NBA history that a player clinched a playoff series with a buzzer beater and now Lillard has made two of them. The other came in the 2014 postseason when he hit a walk-off three-pointer to send the Houston Rockets home packing.
After the game in an interview with media members, George called Lillard’s decision to take the game-winning shot at that moment and from that range a “bad shot” contrary to what anyone says. However, what the understandably salty George may not have known before he made those emotional comments is that while the league average on field goals attempted between 30 and 40 feet is around 26 percent, Lillard’s efficiency from that portion of the court is a staggering 39 percent.
That means the likelihood of him converting that basket from that range on par with the greatest shooters in the league such as the Splash Brothers in the bay area in Steph Curry and Clay Thompson. He's been especially deadly from that range so far in the postseason making 8-of-12 from that range for over 66 percent.
“It was a great feeling. When it left my hands it felt good, I felt good about it and the last five or six minutes of the game I kept telling myself for us to get this game were going to have to really really dig to come out on top,” said Lillard in his postgame press conference and really dig deep he did with his nearly 40 footer over the outstretched hand of a player that had six inches on him.