Damian Lillard has been on a tear lately, putting up numbers that even Stephen Curry can’t touch (at least not yet).
Lillard’s latest feat: Scoring 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first quarter of Sunday’s 111-102 win over the Indiana Pacers (Lillard finished with 33 points). The manner in which he dominated the Pacers was somewhat reminiscent of Curry, who’s been arguably the only other player in the league to take over quarters and just bury teams this season.
After the game, Lillard was asked about "playing like Curry" — which isn’t the first time the comparison has been made as a backhanded compliment — and seemed to disagree with the assessment, claiming he’s his own player:
"I was being Damian Lillard." — @Dame_Lillard responding to a question about "playing like Stephen Curry" in the first quarter
Curry is undoubtedly better than Lillard. There’s no denying that. And sure, there are certainly similarities between the two — both can pull up for insane 3-pointers off the dribble and just take over a quarter or a half or a game.
But to dismiss Lillard’s talent and make it sound likes he’s "Curry Jr." is completely unfair. Lillard is a good, if not great, player in his own right, with his own skill set. He’s closer to Curry in playing style than he is to, say, Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook, but to compare him to one of his contemporaries in an underhanded manner is disingenuous.
Despite the situation, there seems to be no ill will from Lillard toward Curry. Less than 24 hours before the win over the Pacers, Lillard took to Twitter to compliment Curry’s 46-point masterpiece against the Oklahoma City Thunder: