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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Damian Lillard psyched out Deandre Ayton at end of game

Damian Lillard talks to Deandre Ayton

The Portland Trail Blazers hung on to defeat the Phoenix Suns 113-111 in overtime on Friday night. The biggest play of the night wasn’t necessarily a play at all. Rather, it was Damian Lillard getting into the head of Deandre Ayton with just 1.2 seconds remaining.

Ayton stepped to the foul line with the opportunity to send the game into a second overtime. With nothing he could do to physically play defense on the court, Lillard started talking.

“I just asked him, ‘have you ever been in this situation before?’ I wanted him to think about it a little bit. And then when he ignored me, I felt like he was thinking about it,” Lillard said after the game, via Sean Highkin.

But that wasn’t all Lillard had to say in the moment.

As Ayton readied his first free throw, Lillard stepped up alongside him and asked, “You think they trust you with the game on the line?”

Lillard answer the question himself: “Hell nah.”

Ayton, who put up 26 points and recorded a game-changing block earlier in the night, fell flat. His first attempt bricked off the rim and the second attempt shared a similar result.

Jock Landale was able to grab the rebound and put up one final layup for the tie, but it rolled off the front of the hoop as the buzzer sounded. And as Lillard predicted, Ayton wasn’t able to get it done in the big moment, giving Portland the win.

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