There was just over a minute left in the game, and the Bucks were still ahead by two points. With this signature step-back shot, he broke Terry Cummings’ record of 34 points scored in his first game as a Buck in 1984.
Lillard helped by grabbing eight boards and passing the ball four times without making a mistake. But two of those threes were enormous when it mattered most. He only made four out of twelve threes from downtown. Lillard also made all 17 free throws, giving him an actual shooting average of 70% or higher. Okay, that should work.
People talk a lot about how great Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be together, and they will be. But the Bucks can’t say enough about how valuable they are when they’re not together.
By alternating their minutes, Bucks coach Adrian Griffin can always have a top-five scoring player on the court between the two. This is what he did on Thursday. Furthermore, it worked. During three minutes in the second quarter, when Giannis went to the bench, Lillard scored 12 points to help the Bucks improve their lead from 8 to 18.
And you know that Lillard owns the close time. In the game’s last four minutes, he scored 14 of the 16 points for the Bucks.
The Sixers put on a very competitive and exciting show even though they didn’t have James Harden (Tyrese Maxey is better, anyway), and he was a distraction. Oh well, Lillard had a good night. It was a fantastic start for an outstanding player.