Daily MVP Film Breakdown: Damian Lillard Dominates 3Q

Damian Lillard averages 10.2 points in the third quarter, the most by any player in any quarter in the NBA this year. He added nearly half a point to that when he dropped 22 to start the second half against the Clippers, finishing with 39 points and a win.

James Harden has been on an absolute tear, averaging 39 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists per game over his last five. He could have easily been the focus today after pouring in 47 points in a win last night, but the Western Conference Player of the Week can share the spotlight after his 50-point triple double on Thursday. Plus, he disqualified himself by getting away with this ludicrous travel.

Droppin Dimes, Droppin Dimes

Ok, back to Dame. In the first quarter, Lillard dropped more dimes than shots. Four of his six assists came in the first period. The passes weren’t particularly flashy, but they were crisp and on time. He got a few assists out of the pick and roll to start, first bouncing one in to the big man and then finding a cutter.

Terry Stotts runs a lot of actions based around flares and pin-down screens, and some of the plays are just beautiful. This one is called “Thumb,” and it’s fairly common throughout. As former Wizards video coordinator Bryan Oringher noted, having two versatile, athletic guards makes this style of play much easier to execute.

Third Quarter Thrashing

Dame so often comes out of the locker room on a mission, especially in close games. He started the second half with the objective of getting buckets, and he did so by doing something he does better than 99 percent of players in the NBA, pulling up from deep.

That deep shot forces his defender to go over on screens, and when that happens he can attack the rim against a bigger and slower defender on the perimeter.

Dame hit five deep shots in the period, and four of them came on quick one-dribble pullups like this.

The only way to stop a shooter this hot off the dribble is with a versatile center who can come out to contest at the arc and contain him. Boban Marjanovic is many things, including the most efficient player in NBA history, but he is not that.

Here’s the only three Lillard missed in the quarter, and the whole game for that matter.

Free Throw Finisher

Lillard played the entire third quarter, and his Herculean effort gave the Portland bench a 12 point lead to work with. They extended it to nearly 20, but then the Clippers started to hit shots and the arena got louder. Lillard entered the game and immediately drew a foul on a three-point shot. McCollum made a basket, and then LA went on a 15-6 run. Four of Portland’s six points came on Lillard free throws. Lillard shot only 1-4 from the floor in the fourth, but his one make put the Blazers up 5 with 1:23 to play.

Lillard went 8-9 from the stripe in the final frame, finishing 11-13 on the game. When the Clippers fouled him down two with 9.6 left, he calmly drilled both free throws to seal the victory. He finished the game with ice in his veins, and showed that when he’s on, Dame Dolla can light it up with the best of them.

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Daily previews of matchups to watch around the league, and film breakdowns of the best performance from the night before. Twitter @RealTomPetrini, Spurs interviews and analysis @projectspurs.

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