Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard's crunchtime heroics anchoring Trail Blazers' strong start to the season

The Portland Trail Blazers have their clocks permanently set to Dame Time!

Once again, Damian Lillard was the hero for the Blazers as he came up with another string of clutch buckets to lead them to a 115-104 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After the Blazers let a 24-point lead slip to trail by five in the fourth quarter, Lillard went into the zone and the Thunder had no answer.

He scored 12 of his 31 points in the final 4:11 of the game, draining four 3-pointers while breaking down the defence to find Gary Trent Jr. and Robert Covington for triples of their own.

When Dame's hitting playground stepback threes down the stretch, there isn't really much the defence can do.

He finished with 31 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two steals on 12-of-25 shooting and 5-of-14 from deep.

"If I'm going be the leader of the team and be the player that I say I am, I gotta be able to answer that call when times like this come," Lillard said post-game.

"They made a run they played hard, we almost let it get away. In those moments you gotta make things happen, whether that's making plays or being that person to go out and take those shots and tonight they fell."

The 30-year-old has made a name for himself throughout. his career, delivering in big moments and his heroics for the Blazers have kept his team afloat this season in the absence of the injured CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, who have missed a combined 29 games.

Lillard is now leading the league in clutch scoring, with 74 total clutch points and he's been ridiculously efficient doing so.

In clutch situations, the final five minutes of a game within five points, Lillard is shooting 21-of-35 from the field (60.0%), 9-of-16 from the 3-point line (56.3%) and 23-of-23 (100%) from the free-throw line.

Riding Lillard's stellar later-game play, the Blazers have won five games in a row, the longest winning streak of the season, and sit fifth in the Western Conference at 17-10.

They'll look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday when they travel to face the New Orleans Pelicans.

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