LOS ANGELES — “It’s fun to watch, I just wanted to get some popcorn and grab a seat.”
LaMarcus Aldridge said that of Damian Lillard’s fourth quarter, although being in the game prevented any popcorn munching.
But make no mistake there was a fourth quarter show from Lillard — 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the final frame, taking control of the contest and leading Portland past the Los Angeles Lakers to a 106-94 win. It was the second time this season that the Lakers, playing without Kobe Bryant, hung around and hung around for three quarters against the Blazers, only to have Lillard own the fourth. But the Lakers are not the only victim, Lillard has scored 232 points in the fourth this season, more than any other player in the NBA.
“I just look to attack more,” Lillard said of his big fourth quarters. “For the first three quarters, let (Nicolas Batum) come off pick-and-rolls and make some plays, finding (Wesley Matthews) off pin downs, finding (Aldridge) on pick-and-rolls, and dropping it to him on the block….
“And at the end of the game, that’s just when I feel like it’s time to attack.”
Lillard finished the night with 34 points.
However what everyone was talking about after the game was Lillard’s monster and-1 dunk that was part of his fourth quarter onslaught.
“The time before I had the ball at half court and (Lakers’ point guard Ronnie Price) was pressed up on me, like way up at the half court line, and I saw everybody was flat on the baseline. I got in there the first time and I wanted to see how the bigs would play it, the first time they rotated over and I just threw it to (Chris) Kaman.
“The next time I went to half court and wanted to see if they would press up on me again, and he did, and I got in the lane again and I wanted to see if the big would come over and he just stayed back and by the time I gathered and went up it was basically too late.”
Lillard tried to downplay the dunk a little. Nobody else would. Nor would they downplay his fourth quarters — Lillard has gained a reputation as one of the game’s best closers.
“I think he has a knack for those moments, I think he wants to be great in those moments,” Aldridge said. “I’ve seem him do it over and over again so I’m never surprised by it.”
We may not be surprised by it, but we could use some popcorn so we can sit back and enjoy it.