Basketball

It was one of the best shots in NBA playoff history. And it has a Boise State connection.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard celebrates after Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers won 118-115.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard celebrates after Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers won 118-115. AP

It is tough to think of many big-time shots in NBA playoff history quite like the one Portland’s Damian Lillard made Tuesday night.

The Blazers, down by 15 at home with 7 minutes left and leading the series 3-1, clawed their way back to a tie in the final seconds. Then, Lillard, sublime in the playoffs thus far, casually sank a 37-footer at the buzzer for a 118-115 win. The 3-pointer gave him 50 points on the night.

Following the game, Lillard said in his postgame news conference that the shot was one he had been working on. Lillard mentioned his trainer, Phil Beckner, had told him a few nights prior in a workout that he should “shoot a few deep ones off the dribble ... he kept saying, ‘you’re going to hit one of these.’”

Beckner, of course, was right. And there’s a Boise State connection — Beckner was an assistant under men’s basketball coach Leon Rice from 2016 to 2018 and was instrumental in Chandler Hutchison’s growth. Beckner was an assistant at Weber State during Lillard’s tenure as a player, and the two have been close since. Lillard worked out with Beckner in Boise during the offseason while Beckner was on staff.

Dave Southorn and Jay Tust from the 208 Podcast discussed Lillard’s big shot and the Boise connection, plus took a deep dive into the NFL Draft with where they think Brett Rypien and Alexander Mattison might go. There are plenty of Idaho ties in this weekend’s draft.

Listen to this week’s podcast episode above. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn and Stitcher.

Have ideas? Reach out at The208podcast@gmail.com.

Dave Southorn, the Idaho Statesman’s Boise State sports reporter, and KTVB sports director Jay Tust are the hosts of the weekly podcast “The 208: Sports. Stats. Stories.”
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