Damian Lillard kicks it into fifth gear leading up to and after the All-Star break, and not even the Golden State Warriors are safe from his wrath.

The story usually begins with Damian Lillard feeling snubbed after the All-Star voting concludes. He already has a chip on his shoulder that’s the size of an iceberg, and post-All-Star break Dame takes that and amplifies it. This year, the circumstances are different. And it’s clear that Lillard just loves playing in the late winter.

The Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers met for their last games before the break. Going into Wednesday night, Portland was riding a seven-game losing streak against Golden State and hadn’t beat them since February 2016, the game that Lillard dropped 51 on 18-of-28 shooting. Including Wednesday, Dame now has six games against the Warriors with at least 35 points, tying him with Lou Hudson and Bob McAdoo for the 11th-most since 1964.

He went shot-for-shot with Kevin Durant, ultimately finishing with 44 points on 14-of-25 shooting. Portland escaped with the 123-117 victory not just because of Lillard, but because the Warriors had yet another lackadaisical performance. After the first quarter, Golden State trailed 40-27 but climbed back because Durant had 50. It was the fifth such game of his career (such an oddly low number, right? Lillard, a less prolific scorer, has four). And yes, one of the reasons this game was close was Durant’s effort.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had 17 each and shot a combined 12-of-32 from the floor, which included 6-of-17 from downtown. Draymond Green had 16 points, and no other Warrior scored more than six.

Portland’s side of the box score was similar because the bench didn’t produce much, but C.J. McCollum (29 points) and Jusuf Nurkic (17 points) played excellent complementary roles to Lillard, who’s now averaging 26.7 points a night in 19 career games against Golden State.

With their loss, the Warriors dropped to second overall in the conference, and trail the Houston Rockets by half-a-game heading into the All-Star break, much to the joy of Daryl Morey.

Nightly Notables

  • Anthony Davis had 42 points and 15 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers, raising his total of such games on the season to five. DeMarcus Cousins is second on the list with three.
  • DeAndre Jordan dumped 30 points and 13 rebounds on the Boston Celtics, and it’s significant because it’s the first 30-point game of his career! His previous high was 29; a total reached last January against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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