Damian Lillard, Guard, Portland Trail Blazers
Blazers lead the series 3-1
If there was ever any doubt that Damian Lillard was the coolest guy in the league, he is putting it to rest in his playoff debut. The Portland point guard has been the picture of poise throughout his two-year career. Last season, he was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year. This year, he competed in all five All-Star weekend events (ignoring warnings from many) and kicked off the weekend by hosting a rap battle.
Only good things were expected from him. Nevertheless, his poise in his first playoff series is impressive, and he's performing better than ever.
In these games against the Houston Rockets, Lillard's points, assists, rebounds, field-goal percentage and three-point field-goal percentage are all higher than they were in the season overall.
Lillard was a key part of the offense when teammate LaMarcus Aldridge dropped over 40 points in each of the first two games, and he was key to finding a way to recover in Game 4 after the Rockets were able to contain Aldridge in Game 3.
In Sunday night's overtime win alone, Lillard attacked the hoop fearlessly, army-crawled across the half-court line for a loose ball and threaded the needle for some nasty passes to Aldridge. He knocked down an electrifying buzzer-beating three to end the third quarter and jogged back to the sidelines without cracking a smile. He then tacked an exclamation point on the night with a dunk as the last fractions of a second ran out.
We can't give Lillard all the credit for the Blazers' hard-fought wins over the Rockets, but he deserves quite a bit of it.
Plus, he's the star in a hilarious new Foot Locker commercial.