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Damien Lillard: The Man on Fire

The+Los+Angeles+Lakers%27+Tyson+Chandler+%285%29+blocks+a+shot+by+the+Portland+Trailblazers%27+Damian+Lillard+in+the+second+quarter+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+14%2C+2018%2C+at+Staples+Center+in+Los+Angeles.+The+Lakers+won%2C+126-117.+%28LuisSinco%2FLos+Angeles+Times%2FTNS%29
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Damien Lillard: The Man on Fire

The Los Angeles Lakers' Tyson Chandler (5) blocks a shot by the Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard in the second quarter on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers won, 126-117. (LuisSinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Los Angeles Lakers' Tyson Chandler (5) blocks a shot by the Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard in the second quarter on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers won, 126-117. (LuisSinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Los Angeles Lakers' Tyson Chandler (5) blocks a shot by the Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard in the second quarter on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers won, 126-117. (LuisSinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Los Angeles Lakers' Tyson Chandler (5) blocks a shot by the Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard in the second quarter on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers won, 126-117. (LuisSinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Alex Edelman, Staff Writer

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Tuesday night, for 48 minutes leading up until midnight, it was Dame Time. At the end of the game, it was tied 115 all in the Portland vs. OKC matchup in Portland. As point guard for the Trail Blazers Damian Lillard dribbled the ball up the court for the final shot of regulation with 47 points, Paul George squared up to defend but the hand hit Dame o’clock and Lillard pulled the logo-distance three. Bang! Series over. Both Portland and OKC had regular seasons mired by doubt and criticism, but great seasons nonetheless.

This series offered a fantastic matchup featuring two teams with scrappy play and high-powered offenses and looked to settle some of the doubt surrounding these teams and their place among the others in the West. The 3rd seeded Trail Blazers dominated the series 4-1 against the 6th seed Thunder, but each game was a competitive battle with a common theme. Damian Lillard is clutch. Through 5 games Lillard averaged 33.0 points 6.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while consistently hitting big shots down the stretch to with some help from C.J. McCollum to lift the Blazers over Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.

The near future is much more clear now for the Trail Blazers than it is for Oklahoma City, who have yet to prove that they can win with their current roster architecture and stars. Dan Devin, a sports writer for The Ringer wrote

“Damian Lillard’s 36-foot, series-winning buzzer-beater could be a launching pad for the most successful Blazers season in nearly two decades. It could also be the catalyst for a reconsideration of the Thunder.” says Dan Devin, a sports writer for The Ringer.

It’s the end of a long road of underachieving for the Blazers, and hopefully, the start of another one of the team living up to expectations, dare I say it, even overachieving.

The unanswered questions lay ahead of the Thunder in the offseason, but with their two star-anchors Russell Westbrook and Paul George, no future looks too gloomy. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are undoubtedly getting back to the lab and gearing up for their next series against the winner of the Spurs vs. Nuggets series which the Nuggets currently lead 3-2. Regardless of the team Portland faces, if we’re lucky, Dame time isn’t over yet.

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Damien Lillard: The Man on Fire