Damian Lillard has had a fabulous season worthy of Rookie of the Year honors. But the Nets did a number on him defensively and exposed him for being a true NBA rookie.
Lillard scored all 15 of his points in the second half but made only 4-of-his-12 shots from the field. Lillard, who entered the game with a 19.1-points per game average, was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in the first half.
The Blazers were out rebounded 54-40 and didn’t shoot well enough to stay in the game. Lillard was 4-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-5 in 3-point tries. He had four rebounds and three assists. But he also had a sloppy night handling the ball and made five turnovers. The Brooklyn Nets focused on Lillard and got rewarded for it.
Lillard continues to shoot the ball well at 43.2 percent and his free-throw shooting is solid at 85.9 percent. He usually has played very well under pressure. His defense is something the Blazers will have to focus on next season.
If the Blazers fail to make the playoffs, and that’s looking like reality right now, Lillard can still salvage plenty out of the season by putting everything together in the team’s remaining weeks and inviting the team’s management to put the pieces together for a squad that can go to the post-season next year. Lillard is among the cornerstones of this team. But he can’t have nights like he did on Thursday.