On a day, overshadowed by the tragic passing of legend Kobe Bryant, Damian Lillard showed what Mamba Mentality looks like, and single-handedly carried the Trail Blazers past the Pacers 139-129 in Portland with a 50-piece.
The game began with the Blazers and Pacers honouring the great Laker legend by committing intentional 24-second (shot clock) and eight-second (half-court) violations respectively. Bryant wore #8 for the first 10 years of his career before switching to #24 for the second half of his two-decade career.
𝟐𝟒 𝐟𝐨𝐫 #𝟐𝟒- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 27, 2020
𝟖 𝐟𝐨𝐫 #𝟖#RIPMamba pic.twitter.com/29qPpWMsY6
He scored 50 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the field, including 8-of-12 from the three-point line and 14-of-16 from the free-throw line. He dished out 13 assists, grabbed six rebounds, committed just the lone turnover, and was a team-high + 19 in his 38 minutes of play.
With this game, he became the first player in franchise history to have three straight 40+ point games.
Damian Lillard last 3 games:- StatMamba (@statmuse) January 27, 2020
Mamba mentality. pic.twitter.com/4PURs4G7gw
The other key contributors for the Blazers were
The Balzers for big contributions from CJ McCollum, who added 28 points and five assists, on 11-of-21 shooting and 6-of-9 from three, while Hassan Whiteside put in a super-efficient performnace with 21 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 9-of-11 from the field, combining with Lillard to hand the Pacers their second loss on this five-game Western Conference road trip.
The Pacers began this road trip with a comeback victory in Denver behind Domantas Sabonis' first career triple-double. And now, in the road trip finale in Portland, Sabonis recorded his second - 27 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists - but the Pacers were just outshot by the Trail Blazers.
The hosts knocked down 20 three-pointers on 35 attempts, outscoring the Pacers by 21 from beyond the arc. Their red-hot shooting allowed the Trail Blazers to win this despite committing 10 more turnovers than the Pacers' 7.
Lillard decided to honor Bryant's legacy by competing hard in this one.
"That's what (Kobe) would want us all to do…to continue to play the game that we all love & honor his competitiveness." - @Dame_Lillard pic.twitter.com/tlfyb00A1u- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 27, 2020