With the game tied at 92, Damian Lillard nailed a deep three over Ryan Anderson to give the Trail Blazers a lead they wouldn't lose. The Blazers have won three straight.
When some players step up to the NBA, they exude a certain poise and confidence that just seems innate. Dwyane Wade had it in 2003. Kyrie Irving had it last season. And the Blazers' Damian Lillard definitely has it. This game-winning three to beat the Hornets is just an example of what he brings to Portland: a canny awareness of the moment, the self-assurance to make it happen and, of course, incredible skill.
Portland is mighty lucky to have this kid.
Lillard remains the overwhelming early-season favorite for Rookie of the Year. Anthony Davis (who finished Sunday's tete a tete with 15 points and five rebounds) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will have something to say about it before the season ends, but the fact that Portland is 11-12 behind their rookie point guard speaks volumes. Lillard didn't have a great game on Sunday, but he sure made his presence felt.
The Blazers are quietly in the Western Conference playoff race. Who would have thought it possible?