Bucks’ Damian Lillard on Debut: That’s What I’m Here to Do

For staters, it was pretty doggone good, as Damian Lillard gave Bucks fans a taste of what Dame Time is all about. Damian Lillard drives by De'Anthony Melton

In his first game in a Milwaukee uniform, Lillard erupted for 39 points, including 14 in the final part of the fourth quarter, when the game was on the line.

Oh, and he also iced the game with a pair of free throws.

Game. Set. Bucks beat 76ers, 118-117, in the season-opener for both teams.

Of course, ol’ standby superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t too bad himself — with 23 points and 13 rebounds. It just goes to show that the Bucks’ opponents will have to pick their poison if they decide to focus on one or the other.

On this night, it was Lillard.

“Anytime your team is encouraging you to be yourself and do what you do when it’s so early, it helped,” Lillard said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’ve had enough conversations with guys, especially with Giannis, where I came in knowing what was expected of me when these type of situations came (up).

“I’ve been in enough of those situations where I know it’s probably not going to be me making the shot or taking the shot, but they’re encouraging me to be the person to take control and make decisions and decide what’s going to happen in those moments. And that’s what I’m here to do.”

The Sixers have a whole world of problems — or actually, just one, and that would be the James Harden saga. We have much more on that here.

So they deserve credit for battling and taking it to the final few moments.

But they found out what a whole bunch of others will soon find out, too. And that’s the fact the new guy on the Bucks has a nickname that’s based on his ability in the clutch.

“Well, he’s a big-time player and big-time players do special things out there,” new Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said. “It makes me look great as a coach. I’m the smartest guy in the world right now. But in all seriousness, when you have a guy like that that can just take over a game, it is special. But he’s been doing this. This is who he is and we’re fortunate to have him on our team. You just got a sense during the game that he wasn’t going to let us lose. He made big plays. What can I say? He was incredible.”

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