The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t starting their summer vacations just yet: Damian Lillard went off for 32 points Monday night, in a 99-92 must-win against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers, down 3-0 coming into last night’s game, gutted out a victory and lived to play another day.
Lillard, in particular, refused to let his team wither away when things began to look bleak in the fourth quarter.
Per The Oregonian:
With an inspired and emotional Damian Lillard delivering another “Lillard Time” moment, with Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum providing their most important performances in the NBA and with 15 players hell-bent on avoiding a sweep, the Blazers overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Grizzlies and snatch momentum in the best-of-seven series. […] “I thought everybody came in here like it was our last game,” LaMarcus Aldridge said. “And we got one.”
“(Lillard) was like, ‘We won’t lose this game,'” Batum said. “He started everything.” […] “I’ve never seen him like that,” Batum said. “Not like that. Not with so much passion. There was blood in his eyes.”
“The big thing we’ve been talking about is having heart and playing with pride and just not being swept,” Lillard said. “People always say, ‘Nobody’s ever done it, coming back from 0-3.’ And we didn’t want to focus on that. We wanted to focus on today and doing everything we had to do to give ourselves a chance to keep playing. […] So in the huddles, I wanted to just do my best job of keep reminding the team that, ‘Hey, this is it. We have to stay locked in, keep playing with energy, keep pushing the ball,’ just the things that we might not even recognize we’re doing. Just kind of bring it to light consistently, so we don’t forget what’s giving us a chance in the game tonight.”