Damian Lillard set franchise and career highs with 71 points and 13 3-pointers, and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a two-game skid with a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Lillard became the eighth different player to score 70 points in NBA history. At age 32, he's the oldest player in NBA history with a 70-point game, and the only player age 30 or older to accomplish the feat, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
"I enjoy those moments in the game when I'm just going after people," Lillard said, "when I'm in attack mode."
Lillard tied Cleveland's Donovan Mitchell for the most points in a game this season after Mitchell also scored 71 in a win over Chicago on Jan. 2. Lillard broke his own franchise mark of 61 points, which he'd done twice, on a 3-pointer with 4:42 left that also topped his career record for 3s in a game with 11.
Lillard's 13 3-pointers on 22 attempts were one shy of the NBA record set by Golden State's Klay Thompson in 2018. Thompson's Warriors teammate Stephen Curry (2016) and Chicago's Zach LaVine (2019) also made 13 3s.
Overall, Lillard was 22-of-38 from the floor and made all 14 of his free throw attempts. He had six rebounds and six assists.
"It really, really was a masterful performance," Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. "It was a piece of art. That was incredible."
In the final minutes, the Trail Blazers home crowd at the Moda Center was on its feet, phones recording the moment, while chanting "M-V-P!"
Lillard left the game with 44 seconds left, tied with Mitchell, Elgin Baylor (1960) and David Robinson (1994) for the eighth-most points scored in a game in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain owns the league record with 100 for Philadelphia against New York on March 2, 1962, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
LEGENDARY. #RipCity pic.twitter.com/BaYNtlqSMK— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 27, 2023
Lillard had 41 points and eight 3-pointers by halftime. It was a career high in a half for Lillard and the most points in a half for any player in the league this season. He had 50 by the start of the fourth quarter.
Sunday was also Lillard's fifth career 60-point game, breaking a tie for third most in NBA history; only Chamberlain (32) and Kobe Bryant (six) have more.
Lillard has 15 games with 50 or more points, sixth most in NBA history.
"I think any hooper enjoys those moments when you're hot, you're in attack mode, you're feeling good," Lillard said. "But it's the stuff afterward that I struggle with, like when I walked off the court, was I supposed to be overly excited, or what?"
Lillard said he got drug tested by the league shortly after his performance -- which kind of dampened the moment because Lillard said he is afraid of needles.
"I know I've got a lot of tattoos, but when you're doing a blood draw, it's different from tattoos. It brought me down from here to floor," Lillard said gesturing from above his head and then dropping his hand.
Jerami Grant added 13 points for the Blazers, who led by as many as 23.
Lillard started after resting for Thursday night's 133-116 loss to Sacramento. He participated in the NBA All-Star Game and won the 3-point contest the previous weekend.
Even Mitchell took notice of Lillard's sparkling game.
"My mom calls me and says @Dame_Lillard tied your record ... you gotta get 72 now," Mitchell posted on Twitter with some laughing emojis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.