Heroball #4: When Damian Lillard looks at the clock

Heroball #4: When Damian Lillard looks at the clock

Something happens when Damian Lillard is looking at the clock, and he sees a close game getting into the last five minutes of the regulation.

That moment seems surrounded by a strange mystique and at the same time everybody knows that the ball will go to Lillard’s hands during the last minutes of the game.

The Sunday’s contest between the Blazers and the Mavericks was not an exception to the rule. Lillard scored seven of the last nine Blazers’ points including an incredible fade away three-point shot to put away Dallas.

The best player in crunch time

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Lillard has the most go-ahead buckets in the NBA since he arrived in the league on 2012-2013. He has 33 of them including playoff games.

Already in his sophomore year, Lillard was among the best in clutch time. During the 2013-14 season, He was shooting 44-percent from the field and 47-percent from deep with five minutes left, separated by five or fewer points.

During the last nine seasons, Lillard averages 3.378 per 4.3 minutes during crunch time. While the shooting percentage is having its ups and downs, the Blazers’ superstar is on fire through 13 games in the crunch time this season.

In particular, Lillard shoots 58.2-percent from the field and 46.2-percent from deep. During Sunday’s contest, the Weber State product was scoreless for the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter until the last 1:38 of the game.

It was Dame Time…

MVP Conversation

The Blazers are on a four-game winning streak, while they have won seven of their last ten with Lillard blitzing the opponents’ defenses.

He scores 31.8 points shooting 45-percent from the field and 40-percent on 4.6 attempts from deep during that span. He also has 7.5 assists and all that without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic available for Portland.

While, it’s still early in the season, Lillard is crucial for the Blazers’ 16-10 start. Terry Stots team is on the verge of entering the Top-4 of the West with Lillard single-handedly pushing his team to wins since CJ McCollum was sidelined.

As a result, it’s pretty questionable, why he is not actively in the MVP conversation until now. Nikola Jokic has a great year in Denver, the same goes for Joel Embiid and Steph Curry has also been a strong candidate. At the same time, LeBron James dominates in year 18 of his career.

However, Lillard is once again overlooked despite playing great this season. Maybe, it’s time for the fans give more credit to the best player in clutch situations.

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