Portland Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard has hit countless clutch shots in his 11-year career so far, but most would agree that his greatest came during Game 5 of the Blazers’ first-round series against the OKC Thunder in 2019. .
Lillard hit a series-clinching 37-foot buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Thunder 118-115 and advance to the Western Conference semifinals (4-1).
In doing so, Lillard reached 50 points for the first time in his playoff career. The star point guard finished with 50 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and 10 3-pointers on 51.5% shooting.
Lillard’s clutch shot helped the Thunder win his thrilling one-on-one battle with star point guard Russell Westbrook. That gave him some redemption after being swept in the first round by the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans the previous two years, respectively. This came as the Blazers advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.
Lillard’s game-winner is recognized as one of the most legendary shots in NBA history, given the high stakes and difficulty of the shot. Lillard’s farewell on the Thunder’s bench following the shot is considered one of the greatest celebrations in league history.
Paul George on Damian Lillard’s iconic game-winner against OKC
Following Damian Lillard’s series-clinching game-winner against the OKC Thunder in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Thunder star Paul George infamously called Lillard’s shot a „bad shot.”
Shortly after, Lillard called George a bad game during an appearance on his teammate CJ McCallum’s podcast, 'Pull Up with CJ McCallum’:
„For him to say it was a bad shot, that was a bad game,” Lillard said.
„If anything, it was bad defense because I had the ball in my hands with two seconds and I wasn’t going to drive, so maybe he was sick.”
Notably, George later walked back his comments after playing with Lillard on LeBron’s team in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Lillard hit a similarly deep 3-pointer from close to half-court to seal the win for his team.
„I think I was criticized for a good reason in the playoffs for calling Dam’s shot a bad shot,” George said.
„I mean, I see these guys’ range is crazy, their ability to knock down those shots. I mean, like you said, it’s not like a half-court heave. It’s shots that are good at their range. They can shoot it deep.
„That’s a great shot. Two thumbs up”
Lillard was asked about George’s comments, to which he said he held no grudge against him:
„We shook hands. As a man, I don’t hold it tight when issues aren’t deep. Life is short,” Lillard said.
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