32.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. Those are Damian Lillard’s numbers over the Blazers last 9 games. In large part because of Lillard, the Blazers have been able to go 9-0 over that span. This recent run by the Blazers has them sitting third in the Western Conference, only behind the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.
Much like myself, I don’t think very many people saw this kind of performance by the Blazers this season. Most of us were probably expecting another 8 seed and having to face another first round against the Warriors. While it’s still very possible that situation could arise (Blazers are only 4 games up on the 8 seeded Clippers), the recent play of Damian Lillard makes me think otherwise.
Lillard has performed well all season, averaging 26.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. His stats don’t seem much better than what he’s averaged throughout his career, but his play does. Lillard is making his case for MVP. He seems to be unstoppable right now, which is translating over to his teammates. Below are the Blazers team rankings over the last 9 games.
Defensive Rating: 2nd
Opponent’s Points Per Game: 3rd
Opponent’s Field Goal %: 4th
Opponent’s 3-PT %: 1st
Defensive Rebound %: 2nd
Damian Lillard is the leader of this team, and he has his teammates playing well all around. These numbers give me reason to believe they’re going to be a team teams won’t want to face in the playoffs this year.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about the Blazers recent 9-0 run, is the fact that they’ve beaten the Golden State Warriors twice. After their most recent win over the Warriors, Damian Lillard said “We’re the real deal.” “We know they take over games and dominate third quarters and they came out and made a run for it and I really liked how we weathered that storm. They did what they always do, but we kept fighting,” added Lillard.
Damian and his MVP play has the Blazers feeling confident right now. This is coming at a crucial time for the Blazers. Currently sitting at 40-26, the Blazers have 16 games left to stay at the top of the Western Conference and make a push for a higher seed in the playoffs. It’s unlikely they’ll catch the Warriors or Rockets, but securing the 3 seed would be huge for them!
The remaining schedule for the Blazers will tell us a lot about how this team feels going into the playoffs. They still have to face off against teams like the Cavaliers, Celtics, Rockets, Pelicans, and Thunder among others. Again, they’re only 4 games up on the 8 seed. Damian Lillard is playing out of his mind right now, and he needs to keep it up to give his team and Blazers fans the hope they’ve needed for a while now.
It’s been Lillard time for the Blazers recently. Damian Lillard must do everything in his power to keep it that way. Lillard has his team poised to make a deep run into the playoffs. They can be a real threat to teams like the Rockets and Warriors. Don’t count them out because of their recent playoff history. This team is different. Their leader is different. This is a Blazers team we haven’t seen for a long time, and Damian Lillard started it all. Watch out NBA, Dame and his crew are coming!
How many games will the Blazers extend their winning streak to? Leave your comment below!