March 1, 2024


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Blazers welcome back Damian Lillard with tribute video, pull off upset win over Bucks

Blazers welcome back Damian Lillard with tribute video, pull off upset win over Bucks

Damian Lillard's return to Portland ended as less than triumphant on Wednesday.

In his first game at Moda Center as a competitor, Lillard saw his Milwaukee Bucks lose 119-116 to the rebuilding Blazers on an emotional night all around.

There was, of course, Hugs And Greeting video In recognition of the contributions of Lillard, the Blazers' all-time leading scorer. From his Rookie of the Year campaign to his emergence as the new face of the franchise to all of his Dame Time™ winners, it would take more than just a somewhat acrimonious trade standoff for Lillard to not be welcomed back to Portland.

Blazers fans gave him a minute-long standing ovation upon his introduction:

Lillard landed with the Bucks after his future interests began to diverge from the Blazers, who went 33-49 last season and opted to use the No. 3 overall pick on a young guard in Scott Henderson. Lillard was widely expected to form a great duo with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bucks have had a mixed season.

The team's record is 32-16, yes, but major defensive issues caused the team to fire coach Adrian Griffin and bring Doc Rivers back into the coaching ranks after half a season with ESPN.

Wednesday's game was Rivers' second game as head coach and the Bucks still appeared to have some growing pains against the 15-33 Blazers. Lillard did not have his best game, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting (3-of-13 from 3-point range), seven assists, six rebounds and four turnovers.

The Bucks were able to erase a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, but Anfernee Simmons scored the winning goal to give their fans a satisfying victory.

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Simmons scored 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting with five assists and three rebounds.