When you play against Damian Lillard, you have to be ready for everything. The All-Star point guard has demonstrated he can score from anywhere he wants and the Brooklyn Nets were well aware of that. Yesterday, Brooklyn were trying to stop the Portland Trail Blazers star and their defensive strategy was caught on mic; they had to guard Lillard at all cost and don't let him shoot.
TNT caught Garrett Temple talking to teammate Jeremiah Martin, indicating what he had to do as soon as Dame got the ball in his hands.
"If Damian Lillard dribble it up, you guard him," Temple told Martin. "I don't care if that's CJ McCollum, I don't care if that's Michael Jordan, you pick him up. That's the ball right there and Dame got it. He gon shoot it from the NBA..."
In the end, Temple was right since Lillard shot the ball from the NBA logo.
The Blazers star went off again, scoring 42 points and dishing 12 assists in front of the Nets. With the result, the Blazers secured their spot in the play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies, who beat the Milwaukee Bucks last night. Curiously, the Blazers won the game with a defensive play, with Dame playing a key role.
“Once I saw CJ sit down and keep (LeVert) out of the paint and make him settle for a tougher shot," Lillard said. "At that point I was like we got a good chance. Because he hasn’t had to take a lot of those shots off the bounce, moving that fast all night. It was just let’s go get the rebound, Melo crashed in and came up with it and we finished the game with a stop.”
It looks like only the Lakers can stop Dame Time right now; the Grizzlies only won two games out of eight in the bubble and they don't look like a threat for Lillard and co. Not even the Nets and their strategy prevented him from scoring 42 points and it doesn't seem like the Grizzlies will have a different fate on Saturday.