Looking back at Damian Lillard's best moments as he turns 31

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Looking back at Damian Lillard's best moments as he turns 31 originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Damian Lillard turns 31 on July 15 and has made many memorable moments through his nine-year NBA career.

As the basketball world will shed a light on Lillard’s birthday, here are some of his best moments as a Blazer.

2021: Dominance vs. DEN.

When Lillard gets going, there’s no stopping him.

With a 3-2 series lead on the line in Denver, he did what he could and torched the Nuggets offense in every way he would. Whether it was with his jumper or passing. On that night, he was doing both.

Lillard finished the night with a team playoff record of 55 points to go along with 10 assists and a league-record of 12 three-pointers in a playoff game.

There was no stopping him as he finished the night shooting 70% and was hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. To the point, Austin Rivers had to thank the man above mid-game once Lillard missed a shot.

Although the team lost that game, that may be Lillard’s greatest performance.

2020: Willing Portland to the Playoffs.

It’s become a tradition for the Blazers to wait until late in the regular-season to make a push towards the playoffs.

The 2020 bubble was no different. 

Going 2-2 in their first four games in bubble play, the Blazers needed a jolt to help their chances of making the playoffs.

A jolt so strong and dominant it would put the team in the best position possible to win.

That jolt was, of course, Lillard.

In the final three games of the regular-season, Lillard averaged 51.3 points and nine assists on 56.4% shooting and 47.7% from three.

Portland would finish on a three-game winning streak and make the playoffs.

2020: All-Star performance

Despite being named to the All-Star Game, it was best for Lillard not to play due to a groin injury.

While he could’ve just enjoyed the festivities, he was still part of the entertainment of the night as Dame D.O.L.L.A.

He graced the stage with Lil Wayne and became the only player in league history to perform musically during the event.

2019: Loyalty

In an era where star players aim to team up with each other to give themselves the best opportunity to win a title, Lillard doesn’t want to do that.

He’s voiced multiple times over his career his commitment to Portland and dislike for players who ‘run from the grind’ to team-up with other players of their caliber.

Lillard stayed true to his word and signed a four-year supermax extension with the team that summer which goes into effect this upcoming season.

2019: Game-Winner vs. OKC

What may go down as the most memorable play in Blazers history and of Lillard’s career was also a masterpiece of a game.

En route to a 37-foot side-stepping three-point shot at the buzzer to clinch the series over Paul George, Lillard also had one of the greatest playoff performances in team history. He finished the night with 50 points and 10 three-pointers.

What more would you want in a closeout game? A 50-point game and buzzer-beater is as good as it gets.

2014: Game-Winner vs. HOU

In 2014, Lillard was just a young player being the secondary option to LaMarcus Aldridge. He was in his second season but progressed to be much better than expected that early into his career.

The one play that defined Lillard then and has become expected of him now was in Game 6 against the Rockets.

Chandler Parsons had just hit a reverse layup to give the team a two-point lead with 0.9 seconds remaining. At that point, it seemed unlikely the Blazers could get a good look.

But for some reason, Lillard found a way. Running off a double screen from Mo Williams and Wesley Matthews, he got wide open and drained the three at the buzzer to send Portland to the second-round for the first time in 14 years.

2014: Making All-Star History

Lillard likes to do things his way and be different from the norm.

In just his second season in the league, he became the first player in league history to compete in each All-Star Weekend event -- Rising Stars Game, Skills Challenge, Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest, and All-Star Game.

A clear busy schedule for the then-sophomore player, but a task he took gladly to stand out from the rest.

He was only able to win the Skills Challenge but still left an imprint on the weekend.

2012: First impression

In his NBA debut coming against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, a team that had won two championships in three years, Lillard made the most of the spotlight.

He finished the night with 23 points and 11 assists, becoming the third player in league history with at least 20 points, 10 assists in their debut since Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas.

His first game foreshadowed what was to come: a Hall of Fame career.