There is a limited amount of room on the shoulders of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, but on Sunday night it sure looked as though he took his entire team on a joy ride.
Lillard also was 36 for 36 from the free-throw line for the week. His 49 points was just four fewer than the Miami starting line-up. With 49 points, Lillard came two points short of his own career high while setting a season high.
"That was one incredible performance", Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
After falling behind by eight points at 14-6 and later 20-12, Lillard led a ferocious charge to pull within just one at the end of the first period and eventually take the lead early in the second.
"Once he got going, there haven't been many shooting performances like that in the league this year".
It is also worth noting that both Whiteside and Lillard have each started every game in which they have appeared in this season. He started the night seventh in National Basketball Association scoring with an average of 26.5 points.
Jusef Nurkic added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, while C.J. McCollum scored 18 and Noah Vonleh added 11. But it was hardly enough to match Lillard, who has now guided the Blazers (32-37) to wins in eight of their past 10 games. The best game of the trip was a win over the San Antonio Spurs, and the worst was a 23-point blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Miami (34-36) missed a chance to reach.500 for the first time this season, and fell from No. 7 to No. 9 in the East. But he picked up four fouls in a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter and never recovered. "The (refs) thought those were fouls, I guess".
The Trail Blazers, who made 13 of their first 15 from the floor, shot 76 percent in the first quarter to 16 percent for the Hawks and led 63-46 at halftime.
Elsewhere, Cody Zeller scored 19 points and the Charlotte Hornets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 98-93 win over the Washington Wizards.
"I love the effort that we're playing with", Portland coach Terry Stotts said.
"There are no excuses, but we were tired", guard Malcolm Brogdon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
As long as they have their shooting guard, that should not be a problem.