There are moments throughout NBA history that, no matter who you’re rooting for, you can’t forget. Michael Jordan’s final shot with the Chicago Bulls. Kobe Bryant’s lob to Shaq. LeBron James’ block on Iggy.
At this point in his career, Damian Lillard has two of these moments. In 2014, he hit “The Shot” against Houston, a walk-off three-pointer to end the first-round series in dramatic fashion. And in 2019, he added to his legend with “The Wave” against OKC following what else but a walk-off three-pointer to end the first-round series in dramatic fashion.
Lillard has made a career off of big moments. Everything from the shot to the wave—from the meme to Paul George’s comically hot take that it was a “bad shot”—will live on forever through the stories we tell when we recall exactly where we were and exactly how we felt.
But there are things about this game we’ve started to take for granted. There are things about this moment that deserve to stay part of the discussion.
As unbelievable as it seems, Lillard found a way to make us forget he went for 50 points that night. That’s what happens when the shot becomes bigger than the moment, but it hardly gets talked about enough when contextualizing one of the greatest performances in Trail Blazers history.
If any shot was ever going to steal the spotlight from every other shot in the building, this was it. But Lillard had been doing it all night. The shot people remember was as epic as it was deep, but it was just one of 10 long balls Dame had connected on. Having shot 9-of-17 before letting the final bomb fly, Lillard ended up completing 55.6 percent of his treys over the course of the contest.
Savage Seth Curry
Seth Curry knew what was about to happen. He tried to warn the Thunder bench. Did he suggest they send a double? Was he recommending summer vacation spots in Bali? Tough to say. All we know is that Seth is savage for this one.
Seth Curry was telling the OKC bench that Dame was sending them home before the shot and then he stared them down after 😂 pic.twitter.com/ze4fusJRKr— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) April 24, 2019
The ‘Bad Shot’ wasn’t even the toughest
As far as degree of difficulty is concerned, Lillard’s “bad shot” (Paul George will never live that one down) was far from the toughest he completed. Considering the rate at which Lillard converts on shots outside the stratosphere, buckets like these may have been even more difficult along the journey.
Never, ever forget this Evan Turner dance. Ever.
He tried to warn em…
You know that feeling at the end of a movie when everything comes full circle? And yet you’re still surprised anyway when whatever it is finally goes down?
He 👏Tried 👏To 👏Tell 👏You 👏The 👏Whole 👏Time 👏
The first bucket of the entire series came from the Moda Center logo, courtesy of Lillard. And then in case you’d forgotten about his little clue, Lillard opened up the second half of Game 5 with enough foreshadowing we all should’ve bet whatever we had to lose.
Look familiar? The other angle somehow looks even closer.
Damian Lillard does not mess around. Not at the final destination…not during the journey.