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Damian Lillard's greatest moments as a Portland Trail Blazer

From waving goodbye to OKC to sinking the Rockets with 0.9 seconds left to Bubble Dame, Lillard has given Portland Trail Blazers fans numerous unforgettable moments.
Credit: Associated Press, KGW

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard passed Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler as the franchise's all-time leading scorer Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Blazers' career leaderboards are plastered with Lillard's name. He's first in points, points per game, career 3-pointers, free throws, free-throw percentage — and if you care about advanced stats, offensive win shares and offense box plus/minus. Lillard is third in assists and projects to pass Drexler later this season and Terry Porter early next season in that category.

Lillard's value to the Blazers, the fans and this city go far beyond his stats. It's his dedication to the city that drafted him. It's his work in the community. It's his leadership on and off the court. It's his lovely family (Dame Jr. is the prince of Portland).

Lillard has gifted Blazers fans with so many incredible moments on the court, it's impossible to keep track of them all. Passing Drexler as the Blazers' all-time leading scorer should make this list. Pencil it in now. In addition to that, we narrowed it down and came up with five of our favorite Damian Lillard moments in a Blazers uniform:

'That's a bad shot'

This is the one everyone will remember. Even non-Blazers fans will remember it. Your neighbor who hates sports? They've seen the highlight and admitted it was "kind of cool, I guess."

It was April 23, 2019, Game 5 of a first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder that Lillard dominated from start to finish. Going into Game 5, with the Blazers leading three games to one, he was averaging 28.8 points and making 44.4% of his 3-point attempts.

Lillard saved the best for the series clincher. Portland rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie it at 115-115 on a shot by Lillard with 33 seconds left. After a missed layup by Russell Westbrook, Al-Farouq Aminu grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Lillard, who crossed halfcourt. He stood there and dribbled and dribbled and dribbled and dribbled and dribbled.

It soon became clear that Lillard was going to shoot it — from there — to win the game. Thirty seven feet from the basket, Lillard launched a side-step 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Paul George that swished through the net with 0.4 seconds left.

Pandemonium at Moda Center. Lillard waved goodbye to the Thunder. A dogpile of Blazers celebrated on the court.

After the game, George called Lillard's game winner a "bad shot."

Lillard's simple response: "Lol"

'Rip City!!!!'

This was Lillard's first great moment as a Blazer. He'd long since won over the Blazers faithful. It didn't take long. It probably happened in his NBA debut the season before, when he put up 23 points and 11 assists in a win against Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers.

But it was May 2, 2014 when Lillard first cemented his status as a Blazers legend. It was Game 6 of a first-round series against the Houston Rockets. Portland, which led the series 3-2, hadn't advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 14 seasons.

With 0.9 seconds left, the Rockets went up by two on a reverse layup by Chandler Parsons. After a timeout, Lillard got free off a double-screen and sprinted from the far side of the court, clapping twice for the ball. He caught the inbounds pass from Nic Batum and nailed the game-winning 3-pointer over Parsons, sending the Blazers to the second round for the first time since the 2000 season.

After he hit the shot, Lillard strutted around the court, popping his jersey and yelling in jubilation to the raucous home crowd. After an on-court postgame interview, Lillard walked to the scorer's table, took the mic and endeared himself to Blazers fans for life when he yelled at the top of his lungs, "Rip City!!!!"

'Put some respect on my name'

The world was turned on its head when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The NBA was no exception. The regular season was halted on March 11 due to the pandemic and didn't resume until July 30, with 22 teams returning to finish a truncated "regular-season" for playoff seeding purposes, followed by a full postseason at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The Blazers had some ground to make up to get in the playoffs. With a 29-37 record, Portland started 3.5 games out of eighth place in the Western Conference. All they did in the bubble was win six of eight games and then a play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies to make the playoffs.

Lillard was unreal in the bubble. He was unanimously voted the MVP of the seeding games portion at Disney World, averaging 37.6 points, 9.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 49.7% from the field, 43.6% from the 3-point line and 88.8% from the free-throw line.

Lillard scored 51, 61 and 42 points over the final three seeding games to carry the Blazers into the playoffs. No performance was as impressive as his 61-point effort in a 134-131 win against the Dallas Mavericks. Lillard hit 17 of 32 shots, including 9 for 17 from 3-point range.

The 61-point performance was Lillard's third 60-point game of the season. He joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only player in NBA history to have three or more 60-point games in a single season.

After the win, Lillard walked around the court and announced, twice, to anyone who would listen: "Put some respect on my f***ing name!"

'We wasted one of the best performances you'll ever see'

Those words — "It's a shame we wasted one of the best performances you'll ever see" — came from Lillard's teammate, CJ McCollum.

McCollum was right. No part of that shameful playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets was Lillard's fault. It was June 1, 2021. The series was tied 2-2 and the Blazers were in Denver for Game 5. The hope was to get a victory and a 3-2 lead, take it back to Portland and win the series at home in Game 6.

Lillard got the memo. He scored 55 points, including 12 3-pointers, and dished out 10 assists. It was the first 55-point, 10-assist game in NBA playoff history. Lillard hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Then he hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime to send it to double overtime. In the two overtime periods, Lillard hit six of eight shots and scored 17 of the Blazers' 19 points.

But Lillard's teammates let him down. They went 1 for 14 in the two overtimes. For the game, McCollum, Norman Powell and Carmelo Anthony combined to miss 32 of 47 shots, including 17 of 20 from 3-point range. Jusuf Nurkic had six turnovers and fouled out in 24 minutes. It was a near complete no-show from Lillard's teammates; other than Lillard, only Robert Covington played well in that game.

Despite one of the best individual performances in NBA playoff history, the Blazers lost 147-140 in double overtime. The team went on to lose Game 6 at home to drop a series they had no business losing.

Lillard was frustrated. For the first time in his career, the most loyal player in the NBA had doubts about his future in Portland, he later admitted. But he recommitted to the Blazers, got a new general manager and a bunch of new teammates and … well, we'll see what happens with the final chapter of Lillard's career.

6 points in 8 seconds

Most of the moments here are from the playoffs (or the bubble, which was as close to playoff pressure as it can get). But this regular-season performance on a late January night in 2021 was good enough to jump onto this list.

Few things have been more shocking than what Dame did to the Chicago Bulls in the final 10 seconds of this game. This was near Reggie Miller-level stuff.

The Blazers trailed the Bulls by five points with 11.5 seconds left. Lillard hit a deep 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left. Then on the Bulls' inbound, Lillard forced a jump ball. There was a scramble after the jump ball and Robert Covington deflected the ball in Lillard's direction with four seconds remaining.

Lillard grabbed the ball, took one dribble to his right and lofted a fadeaway 3-pointer over the arms of 7-foot Chicago big man Lauri Marrkanen as time expired. Swish. Blazers win.

Lillard hit eight 3-pointers, scored 44 points and with an improbable finish, gifted the Blazers a win that probably should have been a loss.

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