Being snubbed is never fun. However, watching a player who has been snubbed wreck the best team in the league is, as it turns out, incredibly fun.
Just five days after he was forced to watch the All-Star Game as a spectator, Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard exacted his revenge against the best the NBA has to offer, dropping 51 points, including 32 in the second half, in a 32-point route of the Golden State Warriors Friday.
The Trailblazers standout guard hit nine 3-pointers, tying a franchise record, and tallied seven assists and six steals. Lillard is now averaging 24.9 points per game.
The Warriors’ undoing — aside from Lillard — was an ugly, turnover-filled third quarter. After trailing by 19 with 7 minutes 53 seconds left in the second quarter, Golden State managed to chip away at Portland’s lead, cutting the deficit to six when the halftime buzzer sounded. By the time the same buzzer sounded to signify the end of the third, the Warriors had been outscored, 36-17, and trailed by 25.
Golden State ranks among the bottom of the league in turnovers per game with a 15.1 average, good for 26th in the NBA. Against Portland, the reigning NBA champions were sloppy, coughing the ball up 13 times in the decisive third quarter.
After the game, 2015 NBA MVP and Warriors point guard Steph Curry, who had 31 points, told ESPN Golden State deserves to lose and went on to vent on the frustrating third quarter outing the team put forth.
“It’s just frustrating the way we played in the third quarter after we did all that work to get back in the game. I made a comment in the timeout, like, reward our hard work that got us back into the game by taking care of the ball and getting good possessions. And we didn’t do it.”
The loss was just the fifth of the season for the Warriors, who are still on pace to have a shot at hitting the 72-win mark set by the 1995 Chicago Bulls.