How many more ways can we say that Damian Lillard’s game-winner against the Thunder was amazing? At least a few more.
Obviously a 37-foot shot at the buzzer to win a playoff series is an unforgettable moment, but it’s even more incredible if you take a closer look. Here are seven things that are easy to overlook but certainly add to the legend of the moment.
Could Paul George have defended that play any better? He gave Lillard space to guard against a drive but once he realized Dame was content to pull up from the logo, he took a step forward to get within an arm’s length. As soon as Lillard gathered to shoot, George leapt at him and stuck a hand right in his face. There was nothing more George, one of the best defenders in the world, could have done, it was all on Lillard to sink a contested 37-footer.
“He was a little bit off of me and I was like, it’s enough space for me to just raise up and shoot it for game,” Lillard said after the game. “At the last second, he stepped toward me a little bit. I was like, I’m just going to pound-dribble, side-step and raise up. I just had to let it fly, shoot the ball high in the air to give it a chance.”
The teammate’s trash talk
The other four Blazers on the court had the easiest job in the world during the final possession—just get out of the way. Seth Curry’s assignment was to stand in the corner and wait for the ball to drop through the net. While he was over there, he decided chirp at the Thunder bench.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to hear Curry mic’d up. But you can tell he was talking smack by the way he slowly walked away after the bucket dropped. The celebration could wait until he got the last word in.
The bench’s reaction
I could write a whole article just about that GIF. You have the unbridled joy of Enes Kanter, keeping his title hopes alive after he appeared stuck on the Knicks. There’s Skal Labissiere instinctively throwing his arms out when the shot goes up. Evan Turner is completely expressionless. Meyers Leonard is too nervous to stand up straight.
My favorite part, though, is Zach Collins’s jaw literally dropping when he sees that Lillard is actually shooting from way out there.
The Korean call
“Dame Time” is a universal language.
The freeze frame
As if you needed any more proof that Lillard has ice in his veins.
As with Curry, the celebration had to wait until Dame wished the Thunder safe travels back to Oklahoma.
Sometimes the best trash talk is the simplest.