After a long hiatus from the NBA’s weekly ranking of Most Valuable Player candidates, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard finally made the Top 10 last week after leading the Trail Blazers to a 13-3 record in March and potentially the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This week, Lillard, who was recently named Western Conference Player of the Month, remains in 10th on the “Race To The MVP” ladder with a week left in the regular season…
Despite a brutal shooting night (including a 1-of-9 showing from deep), Lillard chased a triple-double of his own in a must-win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday night. The Trail Blazers are in win-by-any-means-necessary mode right now, which brings out the best in Lillard (25.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds in his last five games).
In the excitement of Allen Crabbe hitting eight three-pointers, the Trail Blazers holding the Timberwolves to 11 points in the fourth quarter and extending their lead over Denver for the eighth-seed, nobody seemed to notice just how close Lillard was to finishing what would have been his first triple-double in Thursday night’s victory. With so much talk about triple-doubles this year, it’s somewhat refreshing to have the emphasis put on the team’s result rather than an individual’s stat line (Crabbe’s shooting night notwithstanding).
Lillard is behind Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan at No. 9, Utah’s Gordon Hayward at No. 8 and Washington’s John Wall at No. 7. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Houston’s James Harden are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, as you would surely expect if you’ve been paying attention to the NBA this season.