Magic fans, next time maybe we should just keep quiet.
We knew going in that, with D.J. Augustin at the point, the Magic were going to have a hard time containing Damian Lillard. And the responsibility for failing to do so falls entirely on the Magic’s poor defensive performance in the Blazers 128-114 win.
But it turns out that Lillard’s explosive second-half performance, where he scored 34 of his 41 points, was motivated at least in part by a heckling Magic fan sitting courtside.
“They had a guy behind their bench that kept running his mouth,” Lillard said during his postgame interview on the Blazers television broadcast. “He kept running his mouth and running his mouth and I told him, ‘You’re going to get them in trouble.’ I’m here for this. He kept on talking and then in the second half, I didn’t hear a word from him. So, you know, that’s that.
“Typically I would have just ignored him. But he was so loud and saying some crazy stuff. So, I addressed it as I should and, you know, I did it on the court.”
Lillard had a quiet first half, making just two of eight field goal attempts for seven points. He converted a coast-to-coast layup at the buzzer and, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, shouted at the heckler on his way into the locker room.
”He just kept hollering my name,” Lillard told The Oregonian. “‘Oh, he don’t want to play tonight. He ain’t that good.’ The whole first half, he just wouldn’t shut up. And I got tired of it. I told him at the end of the second quarter, ‘We’re going to see.’ And he kept on talking. And we saw.”
In the second half, Lillard shut the fan’s yapper for good by draining 11 of 15 shots, including 5 of 8 on three-point attempts. Lillard’s 34 points in the second half set a Blazers franchise record for points in a half. His 41 points were the most points scored by a member of the Blazers against the Magic, eclipsing Rasheed Wallace’s 37 points during a game in 2001.
”He didn’t have much to say (in the second half),” Lillard said. “I think it was toward the end of the third quarter, I looked at him and I was tapping my ear, like, ‘I haven’t heard you.’ And he still didn’t say nothing. So that took care of itself.”
Heckling is nothing new and is part of the game. But with the way the Magic have been playing for the last six years, Orlando fans are hardly in position to heckle anyone, particularly an All-Star point guard.
So next time, let’s not poke the bear.