A night earlier, Damian Lillard had seen his potential game-winner at the end of regulation get swatted before falling in overtime.
On Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers point guard didn’t let it happen on back-to-back nights.
With his team knotted up at 110 with the Los Angeles Lakers, he hit this ice-cold three over the length of Brandon Ingram with 0.7 seconds left on the clock.
Lillard went 8-of-18 from the field for 32 points to go with six rebounds, five assists, and just two turnovers.
“I felt good. The ball was coming off my hands good all night, even the ones that I didn’t make,” Lillard said after the win. “In those moments, you don’t think about what happened before. It’s a chance to rise to the occasion. You’re 0 for 0 in that moment. I go back to my very first game-winner against New Orleans my rookie year. I had a terrible shooting game but I was able to block that out. All that mattered was that moment. No different tonight.”
His counterpart, Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, had arguably the worst game of his career. The rookie failed to score, going 0-for-2 from the field in 29 minutes of action, grabbing three rebounds, and tossing four dimes. He was also routinely burned on the defensive end by Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
“I definitely could have been more aggressive,” Ball said after the loss.
His coach, Luke Walton, agreed.
“I thought he was a little too passive tonight,” Walton said. “The hardest thing for young players is consistency. He’s so unselfish that sometimes we want him to be more aggressive with attacking the defenses.”
Despite Ball’s rough performance, Lillard was complimentary of the rookie’s game.
“I like what he can do,” he said. “I like his playmaking ability. He rebounds the ball well, he plays hard, he’s humble. I wish him the best going forward. It’s tough in this league. I think that’s what people gotta understand. You have to give guys time to develop and get better.”