Damian Lillard Calls Matchup With Russell Westbrook a ‘Moment of Truth’

by April 25, 2019
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For Damian Lillard, his first round playoff war with longtime nemesis Russell Westbrook was “the moment of truth.”

Lillard took exception to Westbrook’s on-court boast that he had been “busting” his ass for years, and relished getting the upper hand on the biggest stage.

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Dame scored a playoff career-best 50 points in the Portland Trail Blazers 118-115 Game 5 win Tuesday night, and cruelly eliminated the OKC Thunder with a 37-foot bomb at the buzzer.

Per the team website:

“I mean, the series was over, that was it,” said Lillard after the game. “I was just waving goodbye to them. I think after game three, Dennis Schroder was out there pointing to his wrist, they was out there doing all these celebrations and doing all this stuff and we kept our composure. After one win, that was what they decided to do and we was like, okay what we want to do is win four games. When we win those four games, there’s not going to be nothing to talk about, so that’s what that was.”

In the end, it was Lillard’s performance on the court that was the most devastating blow for a Thunder team that the vast majority of NBA analysts picked to win the series despite being the lower seed. Fifty points on 17-of-33 shooting. Ten three-pointers, the second-most three-pointer made in a playoff game in NBA history. Three steals, giving him 12 for the series. And of course, one dagger.

And a last parting shot. As Lillard walked down the loading dock of the Moda Center to a van containing all of his family in attendance, bound for the Lillard compound in a suburb a few miles down the road, he recounted the barbs delivered by the Thunder during the course of the regular and post seasons. While there were many, the one that stuck with him, the one that fueled him to an MVP-caliber performance so far in the postseason, required a response, especially after holding his tongue in public for so long.

“Said he’s been busting my ass for years,” said Lillard. “That wasn’t true, for one, and this was the moment of truth. This was the perfect platform and opportunity for him to prove it, and you see what happened.”

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