THE MOMENT: I realized I like Damian Lillard
The Trailblazers traveled to The World’s Most Famous Arena on New Year’s Day. The road team was up 13 points, with 4 minutes remaining, before the Knicks started their comeback. With just under a minute to play, Carmelo Anthony hit a 25-footer, to cut the lead to three. With the Garden crowd rocking, Lillard’s answer is above.
The shot was pure. Clean. If you listen to the game tape, you can hear the *WAP* as the ball goes through the basket. That said, I didn’t care much about the shot. I don’t root for the Knicks or the Blazers, and I’ve seen a few game-sealing buckets in my years. It wasn’t the make. It was his reaction.
We’re talking about a rookie, in Madison Square Garden, on 33rd and 7th, in Manhattan, with time running out, responding to Carmelo Anthony, stroking a deep three to beat the New York Knicks. And this is how he reacts.
I don’t care much for point guards who make their name off scoring (though that’s slightly unfair criticism for Lillard, who was forced to carry the offensive load for a small college and now the young Trail Blazers), but this kid is a leader. You can see it in his poise.
Some guys are thrilled to knock down the big shot. Some guys expect to.