Front row for history: My experience at Damian Lillard’s 71-point game

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Attending a Prortland Trail Blazers game is always an exhilarating experience, but witnessing Damian Lillard make history is something else entirely.

On the night of Feb. 26 against the Houston Rockets, Lillard put on a show that will be talked about for years to come.

As soon as I stepped into the Moda Center, I could feel the energy in the air. This game being the first at home since Lillard’s memorable All-Star Weekend, fans were buzzing with excitement, discussing the upcoming game and their predictions for how it would play out. There was a palpable sense of anticipation for what was to come.

I grabbed my $5 light beer from Low Bar and took my seat at the very top of section 309.

As the game began, it quickly became apparent that something special was happening. Lillard was on fire, sinking shot after shot with incredible accuracy. He had that look on his face that he was out to, once again, show the haters why he’s one of the best players of all time.

The crowd erupted with each basket, and every time he touched the ball, you could hear a collective intake of breath from the fans.

As the game went on, with 41 points and eight 3-pointers made at the half, it became clear that Lillard was on pace for a record-breaking performance. The crowd was on the edge of its collective seat, watching in awe as he racked up point after point.

With each successful 3-pointer, the arena exploded with noise and excitement.

By the fourth quarter, the atmosphere in the arena was electric. The fans were on their feet, cheering every time Lillard touched the ball. As he neared the record for 3-pointers scored in a single game by a Trail Blazer, the tension was almost unbearable. And when he finally broke the record, the arena erupted in a deafening roar.

But Lillard’s outstanding performance continued to escalate. Every time the ball landed in his hands, a resounding chorus of “MVP! MVP!” echoed throughout the arena. And with each successful basket, he shattered yet another Blazers record, ultimately scoring an impressive 71 points.

It was a surreal experience to witness such an incredible display of skill and athleticism, and the energy in the arena was unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

As the game drew to a close and he got subbed out, the crowd gave Lillard a standing ovation. Fans hugged each other and high-fived, still in disbelief at what they had just witnessed. It was a night that will go down in Trail Blazers history, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been there to witness it firsthand.