The Portland Trail Blazers welcomed back former star Damian Lillard with an emotional tribute video as the Milwaukee Bucks faced an unexpected 119-116 upset loss at the Moda Center. It was Lillard’s first game in Portland as a Bucks player, and the night was filled with hugs and recognition for the Blazers’ all-time leading scorer.
The tribute video highlighted Lillard’s remarkable journey, from his Rookie of the Year campaign to becoming the face of the franchise and delivering memorable Dame Time™ game-winners. Despite a recent trade standoff, the warm reception in Portland demonstrated the enduring respect and appreciation for Lillard’s contributions.
Lillard’s move to the Bucks came as his future aspirations diverged from the Blazers, who opted for a rebuilding phase with a 33-49 record last season and the selection of young point guard Scoot Henderson as the No. 3 overall draft pick. Anticipated to form a super duo with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lillard’s transition to the Bucks has faced challenges despite their 32-16 record.
The Bucks’ defensive struggles led to the midseason coaching change, with Adrian Griffin replaced by Doc Rivers, who returned after a brief hiatus. In only his second game as head coach, Rivers faced challenges against the 15-33 Blazers, resulting in an upset loss.
Damian Lillard individual performance in the game saw him contribute 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting, including 3-of-13 from beyond the arc. Despite a double-digit deficit, the Bucks made a comeback in the fourth quarter, only to be thwarted by Anfernee Simons’ game-winning shot, securing a satisfying victory for the home crowd.
Simons played a pivotal role in the Blazers’ triumph, posting 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting along with five assists and three rebounds. The upset win showcased the Blazers’ resilience and added another chapter to Lillard’s storied legacy in Portland.