He’s fearless, he’s confident out there but he’s humble so if the record was going to go, I’m glad that he was the one to get it done. —Damian Lillard on Donovan Mitchell
PORTLAND — Damian Lillard didn’t see the specific play, but became aware of the news shortly afterward.
He didn’t have a chance to tune into the full game Tuesday night but felt a certain joy personally knowing the young guy who surpassed him in the NBA record books.
Twenty-four hours before Lillard burned the Utah Jazz for 36 points in Wednesday’s regular-season finale, rookie Donovan Mitchell took over Lillard’s top spot for all-time 3-pointers made for a first-year player in a 40-point win against Golden State.
Lillard’s 185 treys set the record during the 2012-13 season, but Mitchell now sits at 187 after the 102-93 loss to Portland.
That’s no small accomplishment.
“He’s had a great season, not just for a rookie but for a guard in the NBA and I’m really happy for him,” Lillard said. “Me and him have had some communication throughout the season and I like to see a guy that’s humble, a guy that works hard, and not many people was talking about him coming out of the draft.
“He wasn’t the talk of the draft, but he just came out and he showed,” he added. “That’s what makes me a fan of him and then he’s humble with it.
“He’s fearless, he’s confident out there but he’s humble so if the record was going to go, I’m glad that he was the one to get it done.”
With the win, the Trail Blazers clinched the Western Conference’s three-seed and Northwest Division title while the Jazz dropped to the fifth-seed where they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening round.
Mitchell also looks up to Lillard and has continuously sported his signature Adidas sneakers throughout the season, but knows it’s all business when they hit the hardwood.
“When he gets in a zone, he’s one of the best in the league at that but he hit shots,” Mitchell said of Lillard. “We made shots but he countered and hit a bunch so credit to him.”