Damian Lillard was so hot that a Nuggets player said ‘Thank god’ when the Blazers star finally missed a shot

Austin rivers damian lillard
Austin Rivers guards Damian Lillard. AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images
  • Damian Lillard scored 55 points in a Game 5 loss to the Nuggets.
  • When Lillard missed a shot in double-overtime, Nuggets guard Austin Rivers said, “Thank god.”
  • Lillard received little help from teammates, as the Blazers went down 3-2 in the series.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Damian Lillard on Tuesday was in the kind of zone where opposing players can only hope he missed.

In a double-overtime Game 5 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Lillard poured in 55 points on 17-of-24 shooting, going 12-of-17 from three-point range.

Lillard got especially hot late in the game. Over the final 14 minutes of the game – the last four minutes of regulation, plus the two overtimes – Lillard scored 22 points, going 5-of-7 from three-point range.

When the Nuggets pulled ahead, Lillard summoned “Dame Time,” hitting an array of step-back threes to keep the game close. He hit step-backs threes in the final seconds of of regulation and the first overtime to tie things up and extend the game.

-SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 2, 2021

-SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 2, 2021

So, with 3:02 remaining in the second overtime, when Lillard finally missed a 9.75m three-pointer, Nuggets guard Austin Rivers, who had been guarding Lillard, exhaled and said, “Thank god.”

-Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 2, 2021

Rivers commented on Instagram that he had his hands full guarding Lillard.

-SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 2, 2021

Unfortunately, for the Blazers, Lillard may have expended all of his energy getting the Blazers to double-overtime. He went scoreless over the final three minutes of the second OT, failing to even attempt a shot.

Meanwhile, Lillard’s teammates provided little support – the rest of the Blazers shot 1-of-14 across the two overtimes. In the final minute of the second overtime, forward Robert Covington Jr. missed an open dunk off a feed from Lillard. On the next possession, guard C.J. McCollum stepped out of bounds while attempting a drive.

The loss gave the Nuggets a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 in Portland.

“It’s a shame we wasted one of the all-time performances by not being more supportive for him,” McCollum said after the game.

Even in a loss, Lillard etched his name in some of the all-time great playoff performances. Only eight other players have ever scored 50 points in a playoff loss. Lillard is in company with players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.

Not that that is any consolation to Lillard.

“It don’t matter,” Lillard told reporters after the game. “We lost the game … At this point, all that matters is we can’t lose another game in this series.”