Portland Trail Blazers

This Date in NBA History: Damian Lillard nails series-clinching buzzer-beater vs. Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019 & more

On April 23rd last year, Damian Lillard knocked down a series-clinching buzzer-beating three that handed the Portland Trail Blazers a 118-115 Game 5 victory.

The near 37-foot game-winning three, which was launched from near the Blazers' half-court logo, not only eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first-round of the 2019 NBA playoffs but it also gave Lillard 50 points for the game.

His 50 points are a playoff career-high and a playoff franchise record. It was the first 50-point game in a series-clinching game in 25 years since Charles Barkley did so in 1994.

Lillard didn't just drop 50. To close out the series, while playing 45 of a possible 48 minutes, he also finished with seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. He shot 17-of-33 (51.5%) from the field and nailed a playoff franchise record and playoff career-high 10 three-pointers on 18 attempts (55.6%).

"Damian's performance was probably the best performance I've seen in person," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said in the postgame press conference.

"That's probably the best [game I've played]," Lillard added postgame.

This was Lillard's second series-clinching buzzer-beater of his career. In 2014, he knocked down a game-winning three in Game 6 against the Houston Rockets in the first round. In the last 15 postseasons, Lillard is the only player other than LeBron James to have multiple game-winning 3-point buzzer-beaters

For the Thunder, this was their 12th straight road loss in the playoffs and the third straight first-round exit from the playoffs.

Other notable events on April 23rd

  • In 1950, the Minneapolis Lakers become the first team to clinch back-to-back NBA championships when they defeated the Syracuse Nationals 110-95 in Game 6 of the 1950 Finals.
  • In 1969, Jerry West scored 53 points (21-of-41 FG; 11-of-13 FT) and dished out 10 assists as the Lakers edged the Celtics 120-118 in Game 1 of the Finals. Celtics went on to win the 1969 Finals in seven games but West made history by becoming the first and still the only player from the losing side to win Finals MVP. The 53 points were an NBA Finals single-game scoring record until Michael Jordan dropped 55 in Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns in 1993.
  • In 1989, Alex English of the Denver Nuggets scored 2,175 points for the 1988-89 season, extending his streak of scoring at least 2,000 points in a single season to an NBA record eight. His record streak was broken by Karl Malone, who posted 11 consecutive seasons of at least 2,000 points.
  • In 1989, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played his final regular-season game as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 121-117.
  • In 1995, Utah Jazz's John Stockton clinched his eighth consecutive assist title, tying Bob Cousy for the longest such streak.
  • In 1995, Steve Kerr set the single-game record for 3-point shooting percentage by knocking down 52.4% of his long-range attempts. 15 years later, Kyle Korver broke his record with a 3-point shooting percentage of 53.6% for the 2009-10 regular season.

Other game-winning buzzer-beater from April 23rd

Paul Pierce vs. Miami Heat in 2010

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