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Damian Lillard on his 55-point outburst: 'It don’t matter. We lost the game'

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Damian Lillard made history Tuesday night becoming the first NBA player to hit 12 3-pointers in a playoff game and finished with a Portland franchise playoff record 55 points. It wasn’t enough to get the win in Game 5 over the Denver Nuggets, and Lillard was less than thrilled with his record-breaking performance after the game.

“It don’t matter. We lost the game,” Lillard said after the 147-140 double-overtime loss. “I mean, at this point, all that matters is we can’t lose another game in this series. We go out there and we play to win the game. That’s what it is.”

The Nuggets took the 3-2 series lead Tuesday night with combo guard Monte Morris scoring 28 points and adding five assists off the bench, and Nikola Jokic finishing just shy of a triple-double with 38 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

“Dame’s a really talented scorer, a talented player and we just stayed focused the whole game,” Jokic said. “I think we had an 8-9 point difference in the fourth, and we didn't close it out, so it was just a lucky charm to close out the game in double-OT.”

Lillard did everything he could to extend the game, including hitting a 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 121 to send it to overtime. It was a phenomenal performance by Lillard, who hit a long 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it again at 135 and send it to double-overtime, capping off Portland’s incredible comeback after being down 22 points late in the second quarter.

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers puts up a shot against Austin Rivers #25 of the Denver Nuggets in the fourth period during Game Five of their Western Conference first-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 1, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard scored 55 points in a Game 5 loss to the Denver Nuggets. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

"It was the best playoff performance I've ever seen,” Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. "He gave it his all. He made a lot of shots. Look, he gave it his all.”

Lillard scored 17 of Portland's 19 points in the two overtimes, but it was a pass to CJ McCollum for a corner 3-pointer late in the second overtime that could have been the difference-maker. McCollum stepped out of bounds with 10.2 seconds left and the Trail Blazers trailing by three, sealing the win for the Nuggets.

“I’ll have to watch it again but he [Michael Porter Jr.] deflected the ball and it kind of threw me off, so it was a poor turnover by me down the stretch of a crucial game," McCollum said. "I gotta be better and can’t do that down the stretch of big games so, that’s on me.

“Dame made great plays all night for us, and it’s a shame we wasted one of the best performances you’ll see in the playoffs,” McCollum added. “Me, specifically, I have to be better for this team and for him, and I will be. I wasn’t surprised [by the pass]. He makes the right play all the time.”

The backcourt of Lillard and McCollum will have to regroup for Game 6 at home against the Nuggets on Thursday night. Most Valuable Player frontrunner Nikola Jokic is averaging 32.4 points and 11 rebounds per game in the Western Conference first-round series and will be a tough player to defend as the Trail Blazers look to extend the series.

“Look, we’ve won a game where Dame makes only one shot from the field and we’ve lost two games where he’s scored 40-plus points, so we have to be better to close this series out. We’ll regroup and be ready,” McCollum said.

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