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Lillard commands court on Kobe tribute night
1:37 AM ET
  • Nick FriedellESPN Staff Writer

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      Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

LOS ANGELES — Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard put on a commanding performance in Friday night’s 127-119 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 48 points, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing 9 rebounds.

On the night the Lakers honored Kobe Bryant in the organization’s first game since the former guard’s death Sunday in a helicopter accident, it was Lillard who stole the show. The All-Star guard went 17-of-30 from the field and 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Lillard recorded his first career triple-double in Wednesday’s victory over the Houston Rockets, scoring 36 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists.

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In the wake of the death of Kobe Bryant and the other eight victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash, Damian Lillard speaks on the challenges of competing on such an emotional night.

In the past five games, Lillard is averaging 48.4 points, 9.8 assists and 8.2 rebounds.

What made Lillard’s performance Friday night more impressive was that he did it without the help of forward Carmelo Anthony, who sat out because of personal reasons in the wake of Bryant’s death.

The Lakers held several emotional tributes throughout the game and played Bryant highlights throughout the night as fans repeatedly chanted “Kobe! Kobe!” Players and fans alike shed tears while remembering the late star.

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