----- Damian Lillard finished with 50 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers defeat the Indiana Pacers 139-129 Sunday night at Moda Center.
Heavy-hearts Sunday night at Moda Center.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers took the court Sunday night just hours after news broke that the NBA had lost a legend.
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna along with seven others were tragically killed when their helicopter crashed Sunday morning in Calabasas, California.
Damian Lillard honored Kobe Bryant with an effort he would have been proud of. Lillard finished with 50 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds helping power the Blazers over the Pacers 139-129.
It's the 3rd time this season Lillard has scored 50 or more and 3rd game in a row he's had 40 or more (both franchise records). Lillard connected on 14 of his 23 shots from the field including 8-of-12 from three-point range.
Before the game, Lillard shared his feelings of playing the game under difficult circumstances:
“I don’t even know how we’re supposed to play this game tonight," Lillard told Trail Blazers broadcasting. “It’s just one of those things that makes you sick to your stomach. It’s bigger than just our heroes and people we look up to dying. It’s deeper than that. It’s painful.”
The Trail Blazers honored Bryant with 24 seconds of silence before the game, and the team took a 24-second shot-clock violation at the start before the Pacers took an eight-second timeline penalty, recognizing Bryant's jersey numbers.
Portland jumped out quick in the first quarter with Lillard scoring 17-points helping build a 36-27 lead. The Blazers controlled the game from start to finish leading by as much as 21 points. They trailed early in the first quarter at 5-4. That was the last time Indiana led in the game.
CJ McCollum returned after missing three games with a sprained ankle, he finished with 28 points making six of his nine shots from beyond-the-arc. Hassan Whiteside finished with a double-double 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The National Basketball Players Association released a statement on Kobe's passing:
"We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA and the game of basketball. This is a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family."
In the 20 years in the NBA, he won 5 NBA Finals including being named Finals MVP twice. He also was voted to the All Star Team 18 times and scored 81 points in one game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. That was the second-highest point total in NBA history behind only Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points.
Kobe also won two Gold Medals in the Olympics, in 2008 and 2012. After he retired in 2016, the Lakers retired both number 8, the jersey he wore for the first ten years of his career, and 24, the number he wore for the final ten years. He's the only Laker to have two numbers retired.
Up Next- Trail Blazers host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night at Moda Center. Game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.
Chad's Take- Damian Lillard scoring 50 points was fitting on the day Kobe Bryant tragically passed away at the age of 41.