Skip to content

Three Stars of the Night: Hello, Damian Lillard

Dec 14, 2012, 2:32 AM EDT

Damian Lillard, Tony Parker

There’s nothing like a nice three-course NBA meal. The appetizer was fried something or other, as the Hawks burned the Bobcats with 57 percent shooting in a convincing 113-90 victory. The main entree involved the Knicks introducing the Lakers to the benefits of something called “passing” in a 116-107 beatdown. For dessert, Portland’s stud point guard Damian Lillard passed on the crème brûlée and ate up another one of France’s greatest imports instead in a 98-90 win over the Spurs. Here’s hoping you saved some room for the Three Stars of the Night:

Third Star: Tyson Chandler – (18 points, 5-for-5 FG shooting)

Unless you’re playing in MTV’s Rock and Jock basketball where there’s 10-pointers, there’s pretty much no way you should be able to score 18 points on just 5 field goal attempts. That’s the name of the game for Tyson Chandler, though. Chandler rolled hard to the rim and created contact, going to the line a whopping 14 times against a Lakers defense that rotates with the speed of a zombie stuck in quicksand. On the other end, Chandler did a decent job containing Dwight Howard and protecting the rim, but his value really showed after Carmelo Anthony left the game with an ankle injury. Nearly every successful fourth quarter possession for the Knicks generated from Tyson Chandler loosening things up in the high pick-and-roll, and his two back-tap offensive rebounds over Howard in the game’s final minute truly served as the dagger. The numbers weren’t gaudy, but this is the type of performance from Chandler we tend to take for granted.

Second Star: Carmelo Anthony – (30 points on 10-for-15 shooting in 23 minutes)

Anthony was absolutely cookin’ early on against the Lakers, helping the Knicks jump out to a huge 41-point first quarter. Melo dropped an insane 22 points in that first quarter (a career-high) and became the first player to score at least 30 points in 23 minutes or less since 2006. Anthony exited the game with a sprained ankle after a tough fall, but hopefully that won’t discourage him from putting his head down and getting to the rim like he has most of the season. Many hypothesized that the Knicks (and Anthony) would be better if he played at the 4, but I don’t think anyone saw this type of production coming. It’s very early for talks of titles or MVP awards, but it’s hard to argue that the Knicks and Melo aren’t, at the very least, contenders for both.

First Star: Damian Lillard – (29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists)

How about that for a coming out party? Lillard has easily been the best rookie so far this year (get healthy and we’ll talk, Anthony Davis) and tonight he showed why. Young point guards can sometimes struggle to toe the line between distributing and scoring, but Lillard has a knack for picking his spots. His little step back jumper is a killer move, but Lillard’s control on drives to the rim is breathtaking to watch. The polished shooting stroke will garner most of the attention, but watch Lillard’s footwork sometime. He just utilizes space so well and rarely looks wild or out of control. It helped that Tony Parker had some tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back, but take nothing away from Lillard’s performance — he’s the real deal.

  1. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Toronto had heavy interest in Lillard prior to the draft, but when it became clear that Portland would take him we stayed put and went with Ross instead. Meanwhile, Colangelo traded a future 1st round pick for likely 2 years of Lowry(think there’s any chance of him wanting to stay in this disaster? Doubt it), and before that Colangelo signed Landry Fields for 20 mil in a desperate attempt to get Nash and keep him from the Knicks.

    As usual, Colangelo’s priorities were in the wrong place. Nash and Lowry are both fine players, but Toronto is not a team in need of another veteran, we’re a team in need of a complete rebuild. We had the chance to trade up and get a player they clearly recognized as a star, but instead BC focused his efforts on winning now. Good call, that seems to be working out well for us.

  2. holi23 - Dec 14, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Hasn’t Carmelo dropped 30 in a quarter? How is 22 a career high?

  3. fanz928 - Dec 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Best rookie so far is Harrison barnes

    • saint1997 - Dec 15, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      c’mon son, let’s get real here. #balldon’tlie

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3801)
  2. S. Marion (2205)
  3. L. James (2149)
  4. K. Bryant (2126)
  5. K. Irving (2006)
  1. K. Love (1998)
  2. A. Davis (1913)
  3. R. Allen (1852)
  4. D. Cousins (1824)
  5. E. Bledsoe (1780)