- Damian Lillard hit a brilliant 37-foot shot as time expired to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder from the NBA playoffs on Tuesday night.
- After the game, Paul George, who was guarding Lillard on the final possession, called the game-winner a “bad shot.”
- Stats prove George’s assessment wrong, and Lillard was quick to laugh off the comment.
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Damian Lillard hit the shot of the 2019 NBA postseason on Tuesday night.
With the score tied and the clock nearing zero, Lillard pulled up from 37 feet and drained a buzzer-beater to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder and send the Portland Trail Blazers through to the second round.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 24, 2019
It’s a shot few players in the NBA would even think to attempt, but Lillard has shown time and time again that he’s more than willing to take risks and push his range to the outer limits of the floor.
While Blazers fans were obviously thrilled with Lillard’s big shot, Paul George, who was defending Lillard on the final possession, was far from pleased.
In his post-game interview, George criticised Lillard for not finding a better shot to end the game on.
“That’s a bad shot,” George said. “I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a bad shot.”
Thunder's Paul George on defending deep game-winner by Blazers' Damian Lillard: "That's a bad shot. I don't care what anybody says. That's a bad shot. But, hey, he made it. That story won't be told, that it's a bad shot. You live with that." pic.twitter.com/21ueYAHHzY
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 24, 2019
George’s comments would appear to be ridiculous – Lillard hit the shot, and in the process, eliminated George and the Thunder.
But George’s criticisms also fall apart when examined against the facts. While you might think that shooting from outer space might not be the best place to find a crucial basket, for Lillard, there isn’t a spot on the floor where he’s more comfortable.
So far this postseason, Lillard is 5-for-5 on shots from beyond 30 feet.
Damian Lillard is perfect on shots over 30-feet in the playoffs. 5-for-5. It wasn't a bad shot as Paul George said but what on earth could he do with that? pic.twitter.com/wlr0w6iJsV
— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) April 24, 2019
Holding the ball as far back as Lillard did as he waited for the clock to tick down eliminated the risk that the Blazers would commit a late turnover while attempting to run a more complicated play. Then, when the final seconds came, Lillard got to pop up from his favourite spot on the floor and take a shot he hadn’t missed all series.
If that’s what George calls a bad shot, all Lillard can do is laugh.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) April 24, 2019
The Blazers will now wait to see if they will face the Denver Nuggets or San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
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