Lakers' LeBron James Commends Damian Lillard for Clutch Performance in Game 1

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard  sets up the play against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

It's been Dame Time all playoffs, and Tuesday was no different.

Damian Lillard led the Portland Trail Blazers to a 100-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series behind 34 points, five assists, five rebounds and six made three-pointers.

He made multiple triples in crunch time, and LeBron James said, "Obviously it's a big-time shot. It was a breakdown defensively. He makes big shots and takes big shots, commend him for that."

Ben Golliver @BenGolliver

LeBron James on deep clutch three from Blazers’ Damian Lillard late in Lakers’ Game 1 loss: “Obviously it’s a big time shot. It was a breakdown defensively. He makes big shots and takes big shots, commend him for that.” https://t.co/uSUDhpCtsk

Making big shots is all Lillard has done at Walt Disney World Resort.

He averaged 37.6 points during the eight seeding games as the Trail Blazers went 6-2 and turned heads by dropping 61 points against the Dallas Mavericks. Pulling up from nearly midcourt has become a common occurrence, and even a sliver of space is a problem for opposing defenses.

It was more of the same in Game 1, as he and CJ McCollum made back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game in the fourth quarter after falling behind by six before Portland seized momentum for good with a McCollum runner, Hassan Whiteside blocks, deep three from Lillard and triples from Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr.

While James pointed to the defensive breakdowns for the Lakers as Portland took over, the offense has been more of an issue in the bubble.

After all, the Purple and Gold were 20th of 22 teams in offensive rating during the eight seeding games, per NBA.com. They struggled again Tuesday and shot 35.1 percent from the field and 15.6 percent from three-point range.

That is not the formula for victory in the playoffs, especially with Lillard pouring in the points on the other end.

Los Angeles will need to be better on both sides of the floor in Thursday's Game 2.