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Damian Lillard’s vintage performance against Hornets snaps Trail Blazers’ downward spiral

Coming into their Friday night time contest against the Charlotte Hornets, the Trail Blazers had misplaced every of their seven video games within the month of December. 

This hunch got here amidst loads of turmoil inside the franchise’s administration and commerce talks, however celebrity Damian Lillard appeared to have had sufficient. 

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After trying upset pregame, the six-time All-Star delivered a vintage performance within the comfy 125-116 house win. Lillard began the onslaught early, scoring or helping on 21 of the workforce’s 41 first-quarter factors. Thus, serving to the Trail Blazers soar to a 20-point lead early. 

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Lillard completed the sport with a season-high 43 factors in what was simply his finest recreation of the season. He scored from everywhere in the courtroom with the outstanding effectivity that we usually affiliate along with his recreation. 

The 40-point recreation is the fortieth of Lillard’s profession, making him the 25th player ever to reach that plateau. Of the 25, Lillard is simply the tenth to register all of these 40-point video games with a single franchise. 

Here’s a have a look at his shot chart that features going 6 of 11 from lengthy distance and a near-perfect 13 of 14 from the free throw line. 

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(NBA.com/stats)
https://photographs.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/5e/77/damian-lillard_pxl89kcbqxyl1nugftv0yz6vd.png?t=-872398219&w=500&high quality=80

You know Lillard is feeling it when he elevates for a one-handed dunk. 

Although the numbers from this recreation are what is anticipated from Lillard, the six-time All-NBA guard has been a shell of himself this season. Whether it is the brand new ball, the refocused officiating or his lingering stomach harm, Lillard’s numbers till this level have been indicative of a serious hunch. 

Playing in 23 of the workforce’s 29 video games coming into the assembly against the Hornets, Lillard was averaging 22.0 factors on taking pictures splits of 38.4 p.c from the sector and 30.5 p.c from 3-point territory. While the scoring quantity is his lowest since 2014-15, the effectivity numbers are career-lows. 

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For a participant that has averaged 27.2 factors during the last six seasons, this 43-point performance is simply his sixth recreation scoring 27 or extra this season. 

While the Trail Blazers will nonetheless miss CJ McCollum, who’s out indefinitely with a collapsed proper lung, this recreation may very well be an indication of issues to come back with respect to Lillard regaining his type. 

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