Nov 15, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) and small forward Nicolas Batum (88) celebrate against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

(VIDEO) Nicolas Batum Lobs to Damian Lillard for the Dunk


Tired of watching Damian Lillard drive to the rim only to be stuffed like a mushroom on the dunk attempt? I am. Lillard is a spectacular player, but I’ll readily admit that finishing with a rim rocker isn’t his specialty (let’s not pretend Oladipo’s savage denial last week was an isolated incident). However; in the third quarter of Portland’s 108-96 victory over Cleveland, he was able to deliver something truly special with the help of teammates LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.

Damian Lillard dropped the ball off with Nicolas Batum at the top, then circled around a LaMarcus Aldridge screen on the weak side. This allowed him to shed Kyrie Irving with ease, while Anderson Varejao stayed high to keep a body on LaMarcus Aldridge—leaving the backdoor open. Lillard’s finish was as emphatic as it was surprising.

How many teams can execute a flawless small forward to point guard alley oop? The list ends with Portland and OKC (maybe Philly, but having a 6’6” point guard helps). It really shows how well this Portland team works together. Lillard lacks Westbrook explosiveness and Carter-Williams height, but he has the teammates to make the impossible effortless anyway.



Tags: Damian Lillard Nicolas Batum Portland Trail Blazers Video

  • Brian Kuepper

    David, I read rcp each day and got to thinking more about defense stats after todays blog. When I see a Blazer force a bad shot, I think he has done his job on defense. Is there a stat on field goal percentage of your opponent? If not, I think that wild be a great indicator of defensive skills. What do you think?

    • David MacKay

      Thank you for reading, Brian. With the evolution of SportsVu technology, we are now able to track opponent field goals made at rim, opponent field goals attempted at rim, and opponent field goal percentage at rim, all broken down by individual defender. Prior to this development, we were only able to track how Portland stacked up as a team in a more basic sense, which is also very important. If you’re curious, Portland currently ranks 12th in the NBA at 45.6%, tied with Memphis and just a hair above Brooklyn. These stats are great to have because they’re our best quantifiers of defensive intangibles at this time.