After watching Damian Lillard continue to destroy teams night after night since the all star break it was worth wondering… how does he seem to take over the 4th quarter and end teams chances night after night?
Watching guards take over the 4th quarter for streaking teams should be a familiar sight, we watched Isaiah Thomas do it for the last 2 years on the Celtics. Digging deeper the similarities between Dame’s season this year and Isaiah’s last year are striking. Lillard, like Thomas did last year, is using the 4th quarter to not only dominate, but to catapult himself into an MVP race that seems well out of reach.
Looking at clutch time states, which are all stats from the 4th quarter or overtime, with less than five minutes remaining and the game within 5 points, not only was Thomas the second leader it total points, but his field goal percentage increased during those times. Similarly, Lillard is dominating when the game is on the line this year. Ranking in the top 10 in scoring during clutch moments, and seeing an increase in his shooting percentages during those times.
It’s interesting to see the value we take in the ability to close tight games. Lillard is having an almost identical season to the one he had last year, but the difference in the narrative lies in his team’s success. Winners of 13 straight with a marquee matchup again tonight against the Rockets, Lillard will be looking to take over yet another 4th quarter on the national stage.