In the past five years, no player has meant more than their respective NBA franchise than Damian Lillard has to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The All-Star point guard has been one of the best scorers in Portland’s history, and Friday night was the perfect example of his offensive prowess as he scored a career-high and franchise-record 60 points.
However, Lilliard’s heroics were not enough as the Brooklyn Nets spoil his career night by beating the Blazers 119-115.
With every big bucket or long-range bomb that Lillard knocked down, the Nets’ talented guard combo of Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie matched with their own array of scoring moves.
Dinwiddie started the game off hot, knocking down three of his six total 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 34 points on the night.
Irving was critical down the stretch, continually scoring tough baskets with no shot more significant than his pull-up jump shot with 18 seconds left to seal the game for the Nets.
After making it to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Trail Blazers 3-6 start is a disappointing start to the year. As Portland has struggled with in the past, Lillard pure talent alone wasn’t enough to win, as his backcourt mate CJ McCollum struggled with only 8 points on 4-19 shooting.
With the Western Conference being the strongest it’s been in recent memory, Portland needs to quickly regain their rhythm if they want to once again make a mark in the playoffs.
Luka Doncic Puts Together Career Night with 40-Point Triple-Double
The early MVP race in the NBA looks to be very similar to the one we watched unfold last year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to dominate games for the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden is flirting with averaging 40 points this season.
Still, there is another name that is starting to draw a lot of attention, as Luka Doncic is having a remarkable beginning to his sophomore campaign with the Dallas Mavericks.
Donic’s latest performance may have been the best one of his career, as he carved up the San Antonio Spurs all night long on Monday.
The 20-year-old dropped a career-high 42 points, while putting together his sixth triple-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Doncic made all the plays the Mavericks needed to close out the game down the stretch, including a step-back dagger three with just under 30 seconds left.
By recording this 40-point triple-double, Doncic joins his idol LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to accomplish that feat prior to their 21st birthday.
He also became the first player in franchise history to record a triple-double, as Doncic is already etching his name among Mavericks lore.
Doncic is now averaging 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game, as seems to be flirting with a triple-double every night.
If Doncic can maintain those numbers throughout the entire season, there is no doubt he is going to be on the short list for MVP and may he just win the Most Improved Player Award as well.
Holiday Brothers Lead Hobbled Pacers to Blowout Victory Against the Nets
The Indiana Pacers came into Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets really banged up, especially in the backcourt.
Victor Oladipo has yet to play this season as he recovers from last year’s ruptured quad, meanwhile Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb and Edmond Sumner were all sidelined with various ailments as well.
That left two brothers to man the backcourt, as Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday led the Pacers to a huge victory on the road.
Aaron is the younger brother, as the 23-year-old is in his second season in the NBA. He had the ball is his hand all game as the point guard and delivered with a game-high 13 assists and a team-high 24 points.
Aaron’s older brother Justin is an NBA veteran in his ninth season in the league. Having previously played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies, this is Holiday’s first season with the Pacers.
Justin was the Pacers second-leading scorer against the Nets, scoring a season-high 20 points.
Clearly the two brothers have great chemistry on the court, as they have been playing together all of their lives and now get to do so on the grandest stage.
The Pacers have done a great job playing without their best player, as they try to stay afloat without Oladipo. They now have a 8-6 record on the season and should be getting Oladipo back very soon.
In the meantime, Indiana will need to rely on the Holidays and their brotherly connection while the rest of the team gets healthy.
Kings End Celtics 10-Game Winning Streak Behind Buddy Hield’s 35-Point Effort
After losing on opening night to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics reeled off 10-straight wins, vaulting themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference.
That winning streak couldn’t last forever though and it ended on Sunday at the hands of Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings.
Playing without star point guard De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento relied on Hield to take on an even bigger role in the offense and his hot shooting propelled the Kings to the victory.
Hield put together his first 30-point effort of the season, dropping 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting. Hield’s game is always predicated on the three-point shot and he was on fire from downtown against Boston, making seven threes.
The Celtics top scorer was Jaylen Brown, as he had 18 points to lead Boston. In the end though, the Celtics shot just 33% from three-point range and did not do enough offensively to get the win.
Both of Boston’s losses this season have come on the road, as they still hold a perfect 5-0 record at TD Garden to start the year. Right now they are in the midst of a five-game west coast trip, with three games left to be played.
The Celtics will finally return home a week from Monday, when they will get a chance to get some revenge as Hield and the Kings come to their arena to finish of their season series.
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