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With 7th career selection, Damian Lillard to be prominent at Utah’s NBA All-Star Weekend

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Feb 3, 2023

Brandon Dill, Associated Press

Portland guard Damian Lillard (0) drives against Memphis forward Xavier Tillman during an NBA game on Feb. 1, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn.

Damian Lillard’s scorching-hot 2023 has led to more accolades, ones that will help the former Weber State star be a prominent part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend set for Salt Lake City in two weeks.

Lillard was announced Thursday as a Western Conference reserve for the 2023 All-Star Game. NBA reporter Chris Haynes reported Friday that Lillard also “intends” to participate in the 3-point contest.

It’s his seventh career All-Star Game selection. That’s more than all other players from Utah colleges combined in the NBA’s modern era (since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976). Utah’s Tom Chambers was a four-time All-Star and BYU’s Danny Ainge was selected once.

BYU’s Mel Hutchins (in the NBA from 1951-58) was also a four-time All-Star.

Lillard is averaging 30.7 points per game through 39 games this season. He’s also making 4.1 3-pointers per game and has a 56.7% effective field goal percentage. All are career highs.

Wednesday in a road win at Memphis, Lillard scored 42 points for his second consecutive game. That total did not include making a shot from beyond three-quarters court because it came just after the third-quarter buzzer.

Those games came a week after he scored 60 points against Utah, and he also scored 50 points against Cleveland on Jan. 12. He has nine games scoring 40 or more this season and 20 scoring 30 or more.

In the 11 games since Jan. 12, prior to Friday’s game at Washington, Lillard is averaging 39.1 points and 7.9 assists per game on shooting splits of 53% from the field, 40.5% from the 3-point line and 94.9% from the free-throw line.

Lillard’s loyalty got renewed attention this week with a profile in the New York Times. That trait is well-known in Oakland, Ogden and Oregon as Lillard turned down several opportunities to leave Weber State and has remained a Blazer for his 10-year NBA career.

“Lillard is the rare basketball star who prizes loyalty to his city and team above all — even if that means waiting and waiting, and waiting some more, for his team to become a championship contender,” Kurt Streeter wrote.

“We understand how lucky we are to have him,” Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups told Streeter. “Everyone in this city, and on this team, wants to win for Dame.”


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