Before I decided to sit down and write my Dame article, I realized I needed to go to sleep and reflect on what I watched. I wanted to avoid the prisoner of the moment hot take that we’ll inevitably get for the next twenty-four hours. And so, after sleeping on it…I still think it was the best basketball game and the single greatest performance I’ve ever seen from any player. Who else has had a fifty point close out game and bangs a thirty-seven-foot game winner in the fucking face of the best wing defender in the league? Dame Lillard gave hoops fans an out of body experience last night.
Despite Paul George underselling it as a “bad shot”, the shot will forever be remembered as an all-timer. The tenth and final dagger thrown into the hearts of a team that celebrated too early, that talked their shit after a single win, that concentrated on just winning the battle. Dame only cared about winning the war. He didn’t need to engage in petty bullshit when his eyes were set on bigger things.
The Blazers are headed to the Western Conference Semi Finals and looked poised to get to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. The seeding couldn’t have shaken out any better for Portland, as they put themselves in a position to miss out on the Houston/Golden State blood bath in round two. Both Denver and San Antonio will come with their own sets of challenges, but they’re both more ideal opponents in a quest to get to the Western Finals. And if they do advance to the WCF, then who knows? The West seems more wide open than it has since Golden State’s run started. They’ll only have to get through one of the Rockets or Warriors and they have guys that can go shot for shot with Steph, KD, and Harden. A Blazers final appearance no longer seems like an impossibility. A long shot for sure, but not impossible.
Dame won the Blazers the game, the series, and the night. He sent the internet into a fervor. He got his playoff redemption after last year’s embarrassing round one sweep courtesy of the Pelicans. He woke up anyone that was sleeping on him. He will go down as possibly the most beloved Trailblazer of all-time. Next up on the list is getting the Blazers out of the West. Can he do it? Why not?