Damian Lillard’s Top 5 Rookie Performances

5 of 6

January 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Trail Blazers 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

#2 – Coming Home

January 11, 2013 97-103 (L)

Stats: 15-25, 37 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals

I hate to include another Blazer loss, but Lillard’s return to Oakland, his hometown, fully deserves this spot. Lillard scored 29 of his game-high 37 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter, while nearly willing the Blazers back from a 20 point deficit. Almost as impressive, though, was the lack of production from his Golden State counterpart, point guard Stephen Curry. Curry shot only 7 for 22 from the field (31.8%, compared to 45.3% for his season average) for 22 points. Wesley Matthews may have guarded Curry during 4th quarter set possessions, but Lillard set the tone by starting the game guarding him and picked him up any time transition defense required it. Despite the eventual loss, Lillard displayed his budding ability to completely take over a game in the second half.

Follow @ripcityproject