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Lillard: ascension

For better or worse, Game 5 last night was supposed to be about Russell Westbrook. 

Nope. Damian Lillard shot him into obscurity, nailing a 40-foot 3-pointer with Paul George in his face to win the series, 4-1. 

(You can watch the series-winning game-winner from every angle here.) 

Then, he waved Westbrook away.  

Then, he had an organic moment years of commercial filming couldn’t recreate. 

This was awesome. This was unbelievable. This was sociopathic. This was the second time he’s done this. This was a crowning moment for a great player, an instantly iconic sequence: The Shot, The Wave, The Look. 

And, as it turns out, he actually sort of planned this. Here's an article by Yahoo! Sports which came out after the game, which places Lillard at dinner at his house on Monday night. He told everyone there: "I'm getting rid of those motherfuckers tomorrow."

And there that bad man went. 

But this was also a sad moment for another great player, whose team blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead to get to this point, and who missed the would-be goahead layup right before Lillard’s time-stopping, obit-writing dagger. 

Westbrook left the court a tragic figure. Lillard made a 40-foot series-winner to get to 50 points for the night. Then he ushered his contemporary out, and broke the fourth wall. 

After the Thunder dropped Game 4 at home, the thinkpieces rolled in. Steve Kerr criticized Westbrook's postgame stone-walling. It was a bad time to be the OKC point guard, and, to keep it short, it just got so much worse. 

If this was a script, the overt symbolism would be laughed out of Hollywood.

But this was not a movie, this was real. And it was fucking insane. 

[READ: 10 reasons Damian Lillard’s series-clinching 3-pointer is legendary]


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