Better late than never!
There’s never a bad time to use old adages. They are perfectly curated words emanating some truth. But in Damian Lillard’s case – a player who is a four-time NBA All-Star, who made to one All-NBA First Team in 2018, won NBA rookie of the year in 2013, and is somebody who is averaging over 25 points per game in each of the last four seasons – it feels strange and far-fetched. Unfathomable one as well!
But it came, and Lillard, himself, could only laugh when asked about his first career triple-double after the match.
“It’s about time,” he said.
But even that unexpected stretch can’t undermine his status and value to the Portland Trail Blazers. The 29-year-old point guard had 36 points, 11 assists and 10 boards and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Houston Rockets 125-112 to move to 21-27 on the season and within three games of the Western Conference playoffs spots. With that win, Portland jumped to 10th in the West.
It’s about time as well that the Blazers string together a winning run, for they have been far too inconsistent this season for the talent they have. And it seemed that Portland and their players, especially Lillard, who has 34, 50, 47, 61, 34 and 34 in his last six games, are hitting the form at the most crucial time as Blazers have won three times in the last four games.
Hassan Whiteside also clocked a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but it was his defensive work that set the tone for the home team. The 30-year-old Center, who Lillard claim as the best defensive player in the NBA on current form, made a whopping five blocks in the match.
CJ McCollum scored 22 points, Trevor Ariza had 21, while Carmelo Anthony recorded a game-high 13 rebounds.
For the Rockets, Russell Westbrook had the game’s best efforts. The 2017 NBA MVP had 39 points, 6 assists, and 10 rebounds.
“Because they’ve got one of the best offensive players, that just broke us down,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said about Lillard. ”You try to double, you try not to double, and he’s shooting from almost half-court.”
That defeat at Moda Center was the last of the four-game road trip for the Rockets. They will host Luka Doncic and Dallas Mavericks on Saturday while Portland hit the road for a match-up against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.