West Notes: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, Suns, Pelicans

Trail Blazers

Star guard Damian Lillard‘s record-setting night proved to be a little bit of a downer, as the Trail Blazers lost to the Thunder on a buzzer-beater from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Still, Lillard set the franchise scoring record, previously held by Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler.

“It’s a great feeling to reach the top,” Lillard told reporters. “It’s been a goal of mine and the list has so many players, great history of our organization, so to finally be No. 1 is a special accomplishment that I’m proud of.”

Of course, he also walked away impressed with Gilgeous-Alexander.

“He’s impressive,” Lillard said. “He’s obviously a really good player. Not just a good young player. He’s coming into his own. I can remember when I was younger and I became the leader of a team. And I was basically introducing myself as the lead guard on the team, and I was going after it, you know, being aggressive. And I see that he’s in that state. He’s trying to show what he can do.”


  • Soon-to-be Suns owner Mat Ishbia was a member of Michigan State’s 2000 title-winning basketball team, as we relayed here. Ishbia was a walk-on on the team.
  • He played all four seasons at Michigan State. The championship team featured the likes of Mateen Cleaves, Mo Peterson and Jason Richardson, all future pros. After winning a title, Ishbia served as an assistant under Spartans coach Tom Izzo.
  • Ishbia will bring his brother, Justin Ishbia, with him as an alternate owner once the purchase of the team is complete, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
  • Beyond that, it’s safe to assume not much else will change, as GM James Jones and coach Monty Williams have proven to be a winning combination.


Coach Willie Green indicated he’s not overly concerned with the Pelicans’ four-game losing streak.

“We’ll be fine. This is how it goes,” Green said after Monday’s loss to the Bucks, via Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “We have to be able to accept some of the bad with the good. We had seven straight wins. We leave and have a couple really tough losses on the road. At home, another tough loss. We have to climb our way out of it.”

  • Center Jonas Valanciunas added that good floor spacing has been key to the Pelicans’ success. “We have so many great scorers on the court. Finding the spacing is the best thing you can do,” he said, via Clark.

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