Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard earlier this week when he made the bold claim that he wants to be the 2016-17 NBA MVP. That suggestion isn’t entirely baseless — Lillard made the All-NBA Second Team last season and means as much to the Blazers as any one player does to his team — but it still registered as a big statement. Lillard is not considered one of the league’s five best players, so he clearly plans on making a leap into the elite in his fifth campaign.
His season-opening performance on Tuesday night at Moda Center made his goals look a lot more attainable. Lillard scored a game-high 39 points (13-of-20 FG, 4-of-6 3FG, 9-of-9 FT) and added nine rebounds and six assists in a 113-104 victory over the Utah Jazz. That scoring mattered, too — Lillard put up 16 in the fourth quarter as Portland out-scored Utah 36-21 toRead More »from Damian Lillard backs up MVP talk with 39 in Blazers opener