Lillard goes shot-for-shot with Bryant
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
For Damian Lillard, it was a career-defining night. For Kobe Bryant, it was routine. The Los Angeles Lakers pulled out a 113-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, which wasn’t much of a surprise. The Blazers started four rookies, and the Lakers need every win they can get as they fight for their postseason lives. But the shootout between Lillard and Bryant was must-see TV. Lillard set a new career high with 38 points on 12-of-25 shooting. Bryant scored 47 on 14-of-27 shooting.
Bryant had his greatest success in the paint, as his shot chart shows.
10 of his 27 shots came from around the basket. He took full advantage of that aggression by getting to the line a lot, and made the Blazers pay for fouling him by shooting a perfect 18-of-18 from the foul line.
Lillard’s performance was a little more spread out, as he shot 5-for-11 from three-point range.
Lillard didn’t have nearly the success at the rim Kobe did, shooting an underwhelming 2-for-7 inside the restricted area. He was very effective in the rest of the painted area, however.
These late-season scoring battles are always enjoyable, no matter how meaningful the game. The Lakers picked up a much-needed win to solidify their chances at the playoffs. Lillard got yet another chance to show why he’s the prohibitive favorite for Rookie of the Year.