A word of warning to NBA observers out there: Don’t call anything Damian Lillard does a fluke.
That’s especially true if you’re trying to downplay the Portland Trail Blazers point guard going off for 51 points, as he did in a decisive victory Friday over the best team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors.
The following night, when Golden State took care of business against the Los Angeles Clippers, Warriors guard Klay Thompson admitted that Lillard’s effort was on the Warriors’ mind:
It’s kind of a benign quote when taken fully in context — not really a shot against Lillard, but more a statement of how the Warriors played against a weaker team. The NBA isn’t about taking things in context, however, especially when it comes to trash talk. And when Lillard caught wind of Thompson’s comments, he reacted accordingly:
You really can’t argue with Lillard, and it’s something the Warriors should already know. After all, they have a couple questionable losses this season, which proves Lillard’s point. Any team can be beaten on any given night.
Or, for the ultimate example, look no further than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who famously won 72 regular season games — and managed to tally one of their 10 losses against the expansion Toronto Raptors.
Yes, Michael Jordan’s mightiest Bulls lost to a team that literally didn’t exist the previous year. So have some respect for Lillard. There are no flukes in the NBA.