FLORIDA - A 33 feet long bomb beyond the arc gave the hottest player in the league his third 60-point game performance this season. He now joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three or more 60-point games in a season, as "Dame Time" catapulted the Portland Trail Blazers to the 8th spot in the Western Conference after a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Lillard tied his career-high after he got the shooter's bounce in remaining seconds, pushing his total scoring production to 61 points.
Lillard's historic night performance gave the Trail Blazers the sole possession of eight spot in the Western Conference standings, taking it away from the Memphis Grizzlies with only one seeding game remaining before the playoffs, USA Today reported.
Cameras at the court side caught the All-Star demanding several times to put some respect on his name as he was congratulated by his teammates and the coaching staff for the historic performance that pushed them to the rankings.
During an on-court interview, Lillard shared that the upcoming game against the Brooklyn Nets is the most important game of their lives. He also added that they need one win, and they will focus on one game.
Since the restart of the season, the Blazers are now at 5-2 at the Bubble.
The back-to-back 50-point performance made Lillard the second-shortest player in NBA history to do consecutive 50-point performances. The first on the list is the 6foot guard and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.
When informed about the Chamberlain stat that he made, Lillard shared that he is so happy to be in that type of company as it is an honor for him.
He also emphasized that there is no better timing for the historic performance than this type of game against the hot shooting Dallas Mavericks as well.
Based on the reports and confirmed by ESPN, the back-to-back performances of Lillard was indeed timely as his backcourt duo, CJ McCollum has been playing with a non-displaced lower back fracture.
Despite the injury that he is enduring on the court, McCollum still made his two crucial free throws that pushed the lead to three before the game-tying missed by Tim Hardaway Jr.
Lillard shared that McCollum has been banged up but he stated that the Blazers' shooting guard did not make any excuses and made sure that he is being out there for them.
According to the Trail Blazers' coach Terry Scotts, Dame wants to make the playoffs more than anyone in the Bubble.
Scotts also mentioned that Dame's leadership is one of a kind as he brings his teammates along with him.
Aside from the 61-point performance dropped by Lillard, he also made the key defensive stop of the game, drawing a charge on Trey Burke which gave them two free throws which were made McCollum that gave them the three-point advantage.
If Lillard did not make the key defensive stop, a dagger in the corner spot by Dorian Finney-Smith could have given the Mavericks the two-point lead instead of being down by three points.
The Blazers will have a day of rest before facing the Brooklyn Nets in a must-win game in the seeding period to secure the 8th spot and will have a chance to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.