Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard finished Friday’s 119-111 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with 31 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also went 11-of-11 from the line, while also knocking down two triples in another offensive explosion for the seven-time All-Star.
It did not look like Dame was going to have a big night in the first half of Friday’s contest, though. Lillard only had seven points at the break and was hampered by foul trouble as he struggled to keep up on the defensive side of the ball.
It all changed in the second half.
Milwaukee Bucks Star Damian Lillard Was ‘Pissed’
Lillard played just 13.5 minutes in the first half, which included just three minutes in the second period. Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin had to take his star point guard out of the game early in the second quarter because of foul trouble — a decision that Dame wasn’t in favor of:
“I was just pissed off, honestly,” Lillard said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I still didn’t want to come out the game but sometimes coach’s gotta save you from yourself. Obviously in my head I’m like, alright, I’m going to be careful but you never know what can happen out there. I was just upset at the situation but I always tell y’all, I’ve experienced this before, and as upset as I was it wasn’t something unfamiliar. So I knew I was going to be fresh. I wasn’t tired. I didn’t feel worn down from the game yet. It was a tight game and I knew that I would need to come out and be aggressive and find a way to get something done. That was my mentality.”
It turned out to be the right decision from Griffin. Lillard was fired up for the second half and he ended up scoring 24 of his 31 points after the break.
As Dame said, he did not like his coach’s decision to sub him out when it happened. However, being the veteran that he is, he quickly calmed down as soon as he realized that this was the best course of action at that point in the game.
It all obviously paid off in the end.
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