Full disclosure, I am a Blazer fan from birth. I was born in Portland in the heart of Rip City mania. There is a picture of me as a toddler in a shirt that reads “Property of the Portland Trailblazers.” They were my first love as a sports fan. So, yeah, Tuesday night was a good night for me.
It’s all the more gratifying to watch Oakland’s finest Damian Lillard go out and have the game of his life capped by hitting the shot of his life at the buzzer to knock out the easy-to-hate Russell Westbrook and send his stolen franchise back to Oklahoma City.
Lillard scored 34 points in the first half alone last night. And yet the Blazers still found themselves down 15 late in the game. So, Dame went back to work, helping bring the Blazers back. He hit the game-tying layup with 30 seconds left to give him a new franchise playoff record 47 points. He already had a franchise playoff record 9 3-pointers in the game.
Last night was one for the ages. pic.twitter.com/lc9Wakgr4g— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 24, 2019
So, they gave him the ball in the waning seconds to try and put the Thunder away in regulation. He dribbled the ball down the court. Stood well off the 3-point line with Paul George guarding him and dribbled time off the clock. With about three seconds left, he made a little move that didn’t seem to fool George, but it didn’t matter, Dame leaned right and shot a 37-footer just over George’s outstretched fingers and as the buzzer went off he buried it. And buried the Thunder.
A thoroughly defeated Thunder team walked off the court with their heads down. Russell Westbrook looked up just for an instant; long enough to see Lillard waving goodbye to him before Dame was mobbed by his teammates.
Shortly after the game, Dame checked his twitter and found the Raiders had given him a tip of the cap. So, before saying anything about his incredible performance in the game, Dame’s first tweet was to his hometown Raiders saying “It’s only one nation.”
Lillard reps Oakland and the Raiders often. He has a tattoo of the Raiders shield on his right arm which you get a full view of when he’s lining up a free throw shot.
He brought his entire Blazers team to Oakland last year when the Raiders faced the Browns and watched a 45-42 overtime thriller — one of just four wins by the Raiders on the season. Dame was, of course, wearing his Marshawn Lynch jersey as was Al-Farouq Aminu.
‘Logo-Lillard’ will now continue leading the Blazers and repping the Raiders into the second round of the NBA Playoffs where they will face the winner between the Spurs and Nuggets. Should they win that game, he could face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. It’s the Warriors’ final season in Oakland just as it will be for the Raiders in 2019.