Lillard Has Quiet Outing In Team USA Group Finale
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Damian Lillard struggled for Team USA in their group play finale against the Czech Republic.
The former Weber State guard and Portland Trail Blazers superstar scored eight points on 3-10 shooting for the American team who beat their Group A rival 119-84 to advance to the quarterfinals at the Olympic games.
Lillard was slow to find his shot out of the gate connecting on just 1-6 field goal attempts in the first quarter for three points.
The Blazers guard hit two of his next four shots over the final three quarters to finish with 3-10 made baskets, including 2-8 from the three-point line while adding three rebounds, three assists, and a steal in just over 26 minutes.
Lillard finished group play averaging 13.3 points per game, the third-highest on the roster behind Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum who is averaging 16.6 points per game, and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant who is averaging 14.3 points per outing.
Durant became Team USA’s all-time leading scorer in the second quarter when he hit a three-pointer to give him 339 career points as an Olympian. Durant finished with 23 points while Tatum chipped in 27 points as the US moved to 2-1 in group play to advance to the quarterfinals.
In addition to Lillard, two other players with local ties will be moving on to quarterfinal play at the Olympics. Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles led Australia to a perfect record in Group B to advance to the second round of the Olympic tournament as the top seed.
Meanwhile, Jazz center Rudy Gobert led France to an undefeated 3-0 record in Group A including a win over Team USA in their Olympic opener.
The Americans joins France, Australia, Spain, Italy, and Slovenia as automatic qualifiers for the quarterfinals after finishing with the top two seeds in their respective groups.
The two best third-place teams from group play will also advance to the quarterfinals which begin Monday.