'A Piece of Art'
Damian Lillard scored a career-high 71 points in a win over Houston.
PORTLAND, Ore. — It varies how early on you can sense one of those Damian Lillard nights coming.
Sometimes it's right away, and sometimes you don't realize he has 40-plus until it happens. Even his 60-point game against the Jazz last month didn't feel like a 60-point game because everything happened so in the flow.
Sunday night was different, and Lillard knew it before the game even tipped off. He was standing by the scorer's table with Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin, getting ready to be honored in front of the home crowd for winning the 3-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City last Saturday. Cronin remarked to Lillard about how amped-up the crowd seemed for a Sunday night game against a Rockets team with the worst record in the NBA.
"I turned to him and said, 'It's because they're expecting a run,' Lillard recalled. "They're excited for something.'"
Not many people could have predicted "something" would be how the rest of the night unfolded. Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups called it "a piece of art."