Following another tough stretch, the Portland Trail Blazers were in desperate need of a catalyst.
They had just won their first game after three straight losses and would host a deflating Utah Jazz team needing to string wins together.
Notably, it took a stellar performance from Damian Lillard to get the job done, but the Blazers eventually hung on to a 134-124 win that will live in their fans’ memories for decades.
Lillard scored 60 points on 21/29 from the floor, 9/10 from the free-throw line, and 9/15 from beyond the arc, adding seven rebounds, eight assists, and three steals.
Notably, he became just the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 60 points on 70+% shooting, joining the likes of David Thompson, Karl Malone, and Wilt Chamberlain, who did it four times.
Wednesday night against the Jazz Damian Lillard became the 4th player in NBA history to record 60 points on 70% FG pct in a game.
– Wilt Chamberlain (4x)
– David Thompson
– Karl Malone pic.twitter.com/JpAkGCCkGC
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 26, 2023
More than that, this was Lillard’s fourth 60+ point performance of his career, tying James Harden and Michael Jordan for the third-most in NBA history, trailing only legends like Kobe Bryant (6) and Wilt Chamberlain (32).
Also, his eighth three-pointer helped him pass Vince Carter on the all-time list, becoming now the sixth-leading three-point shooter in the history of the Association.
The Blazers’ All-Star guard has been on a tear as of late, recording 380 points in his past ten games, the second-highest scoring total of his career during a ten-game stretch.
But even despite his impressive efforts, the Blazers are just 4-6 in their past ten games, and their 23-25 record has them sitting at the 12th spot in the Western Conference.
So, if the Blazers cannot straighten the ship in the second half of the season, one can only wonder whether Lillard’s patience will finally run out and if he’ll demand to be traded.NEXT: Damian Lillard Continues To Climb An All-Time List