Despite J.J. Hickson’s stellar 26-rebound effort, Lillard scored a game-high 31 points to earn a valuable victory away from home. The second-year guard carried his team without his All-Star teammate Lamarcus Aldridge, who suffered a groin injury last week. Even though the Blazers are Aldridge’s team, Lillard has led them to a 3-1 record without him and scored more than 30 points in three of the four games.
On Tuesday, Lillard was especially effective as he added nine assists and seven rebounds to his already spectacular scoring show. He scored 12 of his points in the third quarter, and it appeared that the game was going to end in a blowout by the end of said quarter. However, the Nuggets climbed back into the game but Lillard had some of his best moments with the game hanging in the balance.
With 2:30 left in the game and Denver down two, Lillard scored a lefty-layup to put the Trail Blazers up two possessions. He also finished 11-of-13 from the free throw line and connected on two of them to help ice the game. The Denver backcourt had no answer for the electric scoring-dynamo, but most other teams haven’t had one for Lillard either.
He may not be as accomplished as Chris Paul or as explosive as Russell Westbrook, but Lillard is quickly making his own lane as a premier point guard in the league.