If you were in the Rose Garden to see the Trail Blazers beat the New Orleans Hornets 95-94 in thrilling fashion then your Sunday night was as awesome as mine. Damian Lillard sank his first almost buzzer-beating game-winner (there was .3 seconds left on the clock after his shot,) JJ Hickson racked up another massive double-double pulling down 16 rebounds and scoring 24 while shooting 10-for-14 and Nicolas Batum dished ten assists (three of them thrilling alley-oops,) blocked five shots and had five steals. Whew, it was an entertaining one, that’s for sure.
Let’s start with Lillard. Check out his game winner and his post-game comments on his excitement after nailing the big shot.
Lillard on his last game-winning shot
“It was probably in college and it probably wasn’t a buzzer-beater, it was just a shot that went in.”
Lillard on the final plays of the game
“It was 11 seconds left and we was just gonna run a flat, I was gonna take the last shot, but we knew they had a foul to give. I tried to get the shot off when he went to foul me with four seconds left. But at the end it was a play like we did in Cleveland, if Nic wasn’t open then I would throw it to Luke, get the hand back and try to get a shot up. Luke did a good job of coming to the ball, he handed it back to me and I was able to get it.”
Lillard on taking the game-winner and his feelings after making it
“When I let it go I got it over the top of his hand and then I was looking and I was like ‘That looked good, that’s going in!’ It went in and we won the game.
“I was excited to win the game. We had a big lead, we let ‘em fight back and tie the game up and we was looking at overtime, so I was kinda relieved and excited at the same time.”
Lillard on making game-winning shots
“Coach Vanterpool today, when we talked, we just both said I’m due for one. I had a couple chances to hit a game-winner and I haven’t made any, so he said ‘Just believe in yourself.’ I did and I made the shot.”
Now on to JJ Hickson. Here’s JJ finishing his first of two alley-oops and what he had to say in the locker room about his play and earning his fifth consecutive double-double.
Hickson on his tough play
“I’m just trying to come in and play hard and be consistent. It’s been something I’ve been working on my whole career is being consistent night in and night out and I’m starting to show people this is what you’re gonna get on a daily basis and I’m trying to get extra possessions for our team and do what a five-man does.
“Outworking guys, technique, all of the above. Sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes you gotta go get it and I’ve been doing a good job at doing both and it’s been paying off for not only me, but our team.”
Hickson on prowling the paint with LaMarcus Aldridge
“I think me an L, we approach every game the same to try and control the paint and keep guys outta there and force teams to shoot jump shots and when they miss and it comes off the rim it’s our job to get those rebounds and we’ve been doing a good job at it. Our guards been rebounding the ball well also, Nic’s been getting in there, before Wes went down he was a good rebounder and the last two or three games I been seeing Dame getting in there and getting a couple rebounds, but we just playing well together and I think we starting to click.”
Hickson on his approach to every game
“I approach every game the same and I’m just doing anything I can to get wins and do what coach asks of me. And that’s all I can really say, it’s just been paying off with me and my team. My teammates, we been doing a great job at holding teams to one shot. I know tonight we had a couple lapses on the offensive boards, but other than that we’ve been doing a good job at rebounding the ball.”
Hickson on Lillard’s game-winning shot
“That’s a big shot. Big shot. I probably woulda air-balled it or something. That’s a heck of a shot.”
Hickson on if he enters games with the goal of earning a double-double
“Nah, when I think like that I change my mindset, so my mindset is to go out and play hard and let the cookies crumble where they may.”
Still want more? Here’s the complete highlight package from Portland's 95-94 defeat of NOLA.