Portland’s Trail Blazers’ sharpshooter Damian Lillard had one heck of day against the Rockets, clocking in a total of 71 points —thus setting a franchise record by beating his own best of 61 points and tying for the season’s best with Donovan Mitchell of Cleveland, who was also blood-tested after the game when he scored 71-points against Chicago in January.
With a charged-up crowd chanting “MVP! MVP!” Blazers cruised to a comfortable victory with Lillard scoring 22 out of the total 38 shots and 13 of the 22 from 3-point range. However, the celebrations were cut short after he was told by the NBA that he would be taking a blood test.
“Honestly, I was like are y’all serious?” Lillard told reporters after the game. “I did the urine test [Saturday] and they backed it up with the blood draw after the game [Sunday]. That was actually the first time in my career [getting] tested after a game. Then aside from that they know I am scared of needles. I know I got a lot of tattoos, but when you’re doing a blood draw it is different than tattoos.”
“It brought me down from here to the floor, all the way until it was done,” Lillard said lifting his hand up in the air. “Once they finished it I was like, ‘alright, I got that out of the way.’”
Random blood tests are not uncommon in NBA and athletes are often tested for performance-enhancing drugs and other prohibited substances, but Lillard was clearly unhappy with the timing of the test, right after a memorable performance.
The seven-times all-star Lillard said that this was the first time in his career that he was blood-tested right after a game.
Not one to brag much about his performances, Lillard’s reaction to setting the franchise record and equalling the season’s best was characteristically lowkey, “I think any hooper enjoys those moments when you’re hot, you’re in attack mode, you’re feeling good,” Lillard said. “But it’s the stuff afterward that I struggle with, like when I walked off the court, was I supposed to be overly excited, or what?”