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What I am Listening to: HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy spoke with a handful of NBA gamers and polled them on who they assume will win the title this 12 months. Survey says!
USA TODAY

Damian Lillard already had produced a spectacular playoff efficiency. However as time expired on Tuesday evening and he hoisted one, closing, excellent shot to the heavens, he turned it into one for the ages.

With an outrageously deep Three-pointer, someplace between 37 ft and infinity from the basket, Lillard checked off an entire bunch of containers.

That sharpest of daggers took his private tally to 50 for the evening, it tore the soul out of the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, it accomplished a rousing 13-point fourth-quarter comeback and it gave the Portland Path Blazers a 118-115 Sport 5 win and a cushty Four-1 collection victory.

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For the Path Blazers, swept within the first spherical by the New Orleans Pelicans final 12 months, this was an indication they’re right here to play and can now loosen up for a minute earlier than they face the winner of the San Antonio Spurs-Denver Nuggets collection.

For Lillard, it was oh so candy, coming on the finish of a testy collection wherein Russell Westbrook had sought to get beneath his pores and skin however by no means fairly managed it. The ultimate contact was poetry whereas being jaw-dropping in its audacity.

With the ball at his fingertips Lillard let time wind down, too late it appeared, till, with a few ticks remaining, he pressed launch and located his intention to be true as soon as extra. Does anybody actually anticipate a shot from so deep to go in, even when they’ve made 9 strikes from downtown already that evening?

Lillard believed, a lot in order that as an alternative of celebrating wildly like the remainder of Portland he merely raised his hand and waved goodbye to the Thunder, for whom Westbrook had a 10th profession playoff triple-double in useless and Paul George hit 36.

Goodbye certainly. The Path Blazers, in the meantime, go marching on, with out injured huge man Jusuf Nurkic and with out a lot of an opportunity in any respect in case you take heed to most pundits. Lillard is blissful to defy each the critics — and conference.

Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities’ Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno.

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