Lillard grabs career-high 18 rebounds amid poor shooting night in Blazers’ win over Clips

The Los Angeles Clippers made life very tough for Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard on Wednesday night.

They threw traps at him. They forced him to give up the ball. They forced him to take wild shots. And Chris Paul showed why he’s one of the best defenders at his position in the NBA.

"He’s a tough defender," Lillard said of Paul. "He’s physical, smart. He plays angles well. I respect him."  

One of the most hyped point guard matchups of the season was a dud. If you were looking for two of the premiere point guards in the NBA to go at each other, trading baskets in an effort this get their team a win, this wasn’t it.

The individual matchup was extremely one-sided, tilted in Paul’s direction — just five points and four assists for Lillard against the season-high 36 points and 12 assists put up by Paul.

Paul’s all-around performance was not to be celebrated Wednesday because it was Lillard and the Blazers who will be leaving town with a 98-93 overtime win.

"We lost," Paul said after the game. "It’s a team game played by individuals. Even though some guys didn’t score their points (for the Blazers), other guys did score. So we have to play better team defense because down the stretch that’s what let up. We lost 11-6 in overtime."  

Lillard struggled mightily from the field. He made just one of his 13 attempts.  The one and only field goal he saw fall didn’t come until nearly two minutes into the overtime period. His five points snapped a streak of 58 straight double-figure scoring games. The last time he failed to reach double figures in scoring was last April, when he scored nine points against the Clippers in just 12 minutes of play.   

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers still found a way to be complimentary of Lillard’s play, as he saw the other other ways the Portlant point guard managed to impact the game.

"I ask my guys that all the time, ‘If someone takes away what you do what else can you do to help the team?’ because there’s certain games where you just don’t have it," Rivers said. "You have a bad night. Lillard had one tonight but he still stayed in the game and had 18 rebounds."

Lillard’s 18 rebounds marks a career high. After the game, his teammates were calling him "Dennis Rodman" because of all of his activity on the backboards.

But did Lillard actually feel like Rodman while on the floor?

"Not really," Lillard said. "We had one (play) where we had a two-point lead and they missed a shot and I jumped up and it was a bunch of us in there and I didn’t know who was on my back or around me so I, kind of, ripped (the ball) through and dribbled it out." 

Lillard paused briefly, thinking about the Rodman comparison even more. 

"Not really," he repeated. "Dennis Rodman was all over the place."