Paul George: Damian Lillard's 2019 Series-Clincher vs. Thunder Was 'Great Shot'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, reacts after making a basket as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, left, trails the play during the first half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
Steve Dipaola/Associated Press

Paul George has seen the light when it comes to Damian Lillard's range.

George got to enjoy Dame Time as a teammate during Sunday's All-Star Game, as Lillard drained a shot from a step inside half court to clinch a 170-150 victory for Team LeBron over Team Durant. The Portland Trail Blazers guard finished with 32 points on 8-of-16 shooting from deep, which is exactly what Team LeBron teammate Stephen Curry shot from three.

"Well I guess I was criticized for the right reason for calling Dame's shot in the playoffs a bad shot," George said when asked about his infamous comments following their 2019 playoff series. "I mean I see this guy's range is crazy. ... It's a great shot."

Lillard sent George's Oklahoma City Thunder home from the playoffs with a deep three in 2019, and George said it was a "bad shot" after that game.

Lillard's shot over George in that playoff battle capped off an emotional series that featured high-pressure moments and back-and-forths between the Trail Blazers guard and Russell Westbrook.

He famously waved toward OKC's bench after the dagger and then responded to George's comments on The Pull Up Podcast by saying, "if anything, it was bad defense."

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George acknowledged the range of players like Lillard and Curry has changed the thinking about what constitutes a good and bad shot in today's NBA. No longer is the best play at winning time always attacking the basket and hoping to draw a foul or create an easy finish at the rim, especially with smaller guards who can unleash triples in the blink of an eye with the quick flick of their wrist.

The fourth quarter is almost synonymous with "Dame Time" whenever Portland is on the floor in large part because of Lillard's ability to do just that.

Lillard may have surprised George in 2019 by pulling up from so deep, but the Los Angeles Clippers swingman will at least know to expect something similar if their two teams meet up in this year's playoffs in the loaded Western Conference.

The Clippers are the No. 4 seed in the West, while the Trail Blazers are the No. 5 seed. That means they could be on a first-round collision course.