Damian Lillard was nothing but impressive on Monday night, when his Portland Trail Blazers took on the Los Angeles Lakers and beat them, 100-93, to take the 1-0 lead in the series. Lillard shows his range on more than one occasion, especially in crunch time, drawing some comparisons with the best long-range shooter in the league, Stephen Curry.
This has been a constant debate in the league and it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon, at least until Steph return to action next season.
As for right now, everybody is trying to make the case for their favorite player. While some say Lillard is the best point guard in the league, others claim Curry has no competition in that item. ESPN analyst Max Kellerman made the case for Lillard on Wednesday's edition of First Take, stating that Lillard was an improved version of Curry since he gets better in the biggest moments of the game.
"Look at the moments in the game at which he's (Lillard) coming up biggest," Kellerman said. "Steph Curry, I believe, has turned over the years into a clutch player -- a 'money on the line in the Finals type player.' But he hasn't always been that way. A lot of times Steph did not play his best in the Finals.
"And we don't know -- let's see how deep Damian Lillard gets into the playoffs. He could still have bad games. But Damian Lillard is like Steph Curry, but a Steph Curry who gets better in the biggest moments."
It's very bold of him to say that Curry doesn't rise to the occasion. Sure, every player in the world has had bad games, especially in the Finals, that's not a secret, but to say that about Curry is just disrespectful. This guy has shown up in several games when his team needed him. The biggest example of that was the 2016 Western Conference Finals when he led his team to overcome a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had very good games after going 3-1 down, recording 32.7 points, 7.7 assists, 7.3 rebounds.
Curry is one of those guys that isn't afraid of the challenge. He enjoys them.
Dame is the same type of player, he looks for those situations, but the difference here is clear. Lillard still has to reach the Finals for the first time in his career and see what he can do in the biggest stage. The things he's doing in the bubble show you how great he is and always has been, but you can make the case for a player without bringing down the other.