Dame Time: Lillard’s 39-Point Debut Seals Bucks Win

Dame Time: Lillard's 39-Point Debut Seals Bucks Win

The Milwaukee Bucks Will Not Trade for Damian Lillard

In a historic Milwaukee Bucks debut, Damian Lillard showcased his scoring prowess by notching an impressive 39 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. The Bucks had a thrilling start to their season, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers with a narrow 118-117 victory after squandering a 19-point lead.

Lillard’s incredible performance set a new record for the most points scored by a player in their Bucks debut, surpassing Terry Cummings, who had previously held the record with 34 points in his debut back in 1984. 

Alongside Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds, solidifying his status as the franchise’s all-time leader in career field goals, with 5,905 baskets, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 5,902.

The game took a dramatic turn when Lillard took matters into his own hands, hitting a crucial 3-pointer with 3:41 left in the game, putting the Bucks ahead at 105-104. This pivotal shot kick-started an 11-0 run that granted Milwaukee a nine-point advantage with just 2:45 remaining.

However, the 76ers staged a late comeback, scoring seven consecutive points to reduce the deficit to two. Lillard responded by sinking another clutch 3-pointer with 1:13 remaining. 

After Tobias Harris nailed a 3-pointer to bring the game within two points, Lillard made a critical drive to the basket, drew a foul, and calmly sunk two game-sealing free throws with 11.5 seconds left. Remarkably, Lillard was flawless from the free-throw line, making all 17 of his attempts.

On the opposing side, Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 31 points, accompanied by Kelly Oubre Jr.’s 27 points and Joel Embiid’s 24.

This game marked a significant moment for Damian Lillard as he embarked on a new chapter in his career, donning a different team’s jersey for the first time after spending his initial 11 seasons in Portland. 

Lillard’s trade request during the offseason led him to Milwaukee, with the Bucks parting with two-time All-Star Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, and multiple draft picks to acquire the seven-time All-NBA guard.

The matchup also marked the head coaching debut of Adrian Griffin for the Milwaukee Bucks, who previously served as an assistant coach under Nick Nurse with the Toronto Raptors. Coincidentally, Nurse now coaches the 76ers, setting the stage for an intriguing showdown between mentor and protégé.