Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard hit one of the most dramatic shots in NBA history on Tuesday night, making a long three-pointer at the buzzer to win the team’s first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The shot brought Lillard’s total scoring for the game to 50 points.
After making the 37-foot shot, per ESPN, Lillard literally waved goodbye to the opposing team’s bench as the 6th-seeded Oklahoma City was sent home. Lillard also hit a buzzer-beating shot to win a series against the Houston Rockets in 2014.
Paul George, the Thunder star who was defending Lillard when he hit the final three, had some surprising comments about the Portland star’s shot.
“That’s a bad, bad shot,” George said of the long three-pointer, in the postgame press conference. “I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a bad shot. But hey, he made it. That story won’t be told that it was a bad shot. We live with that.”
When Jared Cowley, a reporter who covers the Blazers, tweeted George’s quote after the game, Lillard quoted it on Twitter and simply wrote “LOL.”
George’s comments came at the end of a very contentious series, in which there was chippiness between the two teams. with the trash talk particularly noteworthy in Game 3 of the series.
Jamie Valdez of USA Today Sports and Reuters may be the only person who made as much of opportunity last night as Damian Lillard. pic.twitter.com/TG3pjNhpyl— Ben Mathis-Lilley (@BenMathisLilley) April 24, 2019
In the game, in which he scored 34 points in the first half, Lillard played every minute until the start of the fourth quarter, when he finally rested. In addition, Jusuf Nurkic, the Portland big man who has been injured for the last month after suffering a season-ending leg injury toward the end of the regular season, made a surprise appearance on the Blazers’ bench in the fourth quarter, exciting the home crowd and inspiring his teammates.
In addition to Lillard’s 50, C.J. McCollum and Moe Harkless scored 17 points each for Portland, while Enes Kanter chipped in 13 points. George led the scoring for Oklahoma City with 36, while Russell Westbrook had 29 for the Thunder, as well as 14 assists.
In the second round of the playoff, the Trail Blazers are set to play the winner of the series between the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs, which Denver currently leads, 3-2. Game 6 of that series is scheduled for Thursday night in San Antonio.
“There’s been a lot of back and forth, a lot of talk and all this stuff, and that was the last word. That was having the last word,” Lillard said of his shot after the game.