Dame Time arrived in spectacular fashion for the Milwaukee Bucks in their first game of the 2023-24 NBA regular season. Milwaukee led for most of the game, though the Philadelphia 76ers took a brief eight-point lead in the fourth quarter. In end, though, Damian Lillard proved to be too much, erupting for 14 points in the game’s final four minutes to give Milwaukee the 118-117 win.
It was truly a game of firsts for the Bucks. Adrian Griffin coached his first game as a head coach, Lillard joined Malik Beasley and Cam Payne as the only Bucks newcomers to see playing time, and Jae Crowder got actual playing time. It was Dame Time, however, that ruled the night, capped by his franchise record-breaking performance.
Damian Lillard Sets a Milwaukee Bucks Record for Most Points in a Debut
On a night where Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to find a rhythm, it was Lillard who rescued the Bucks and salvaged the win. Lillard finished the night with 39 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. He also did not turn the ball over once.
The 39 points set a Bucks franchise record for the most points scored by a player in their debut with the team. He was 9/22 from the field (4-12 from three) and a perfect 17/17 from the free thrown line.
Kyrie Irving holds the record for most points in a debut with a new team. He scored 50 points in his debut with the Brooklyn Nets back in 2019.
Damian Lillard Ties Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Franchise Record for Most Free Throws Made Without a Miss
Believe it or not, Giannis, who shot 64.5% from the free throw line last season and has a career free throw percentage of 70.0%, has gone 17/17 from the line twice in his career.
As mentioned, Lillard made all 17 of his free throw attempts in his debut, which ties Giannis’ franchise record.
Damian Lillard Took Care of the Ball
In addition to his stellar stat line, Lillard did not commit a single turnover all night. As a team, the Bucks committed 14 turnovers, with Giannis being responsible for seven of them.
Lillard also kept out of foul trouble, committing just two the entire night.
Last season, the seven-time All-Star averaged 3.3 turnovers per game.