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Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard targeting December 4 return

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Trail Blazers Damian Lillard on four-game skid - We're in a ditch right now Losing streak
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Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is targeting a return date of Sunday, December 4 against the Indiana Pacers, according to sources. The six-time All-Star has missed the last six games due to a calf strain.

“The Trail Blazers are 1-3 during the span that Damian Lillard has been out with that calf injury, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” said NBA on TNT’s sideline reporter Chris B. Haynes.

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Through 21 games this season, Portland is 11-10 and ranks seventh overall in the Western Conference standings. Without Lillard, the Trail Blazers’ record is now 4-6, their point differential is -3.9, and the team’s net rating is -4.

However, with Lillard on the court, the Blazers are 7-4, their point differential is +2.1, and they have a net rating of +2.5. Through 11 starts this season, the guard is averaging 26.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 7.0 assists.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is targeting a return date for Sunday, December 4 against the Indiana Pacers

Plus, the 11-year veteran is shooting 42.2% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range. On Nov. 19, Lillard suffered his calf injury in a 118-113 loss to the Utah Jazz.

“I think he’s feeling better,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said of Lillard. “He’s starting to get on the court a little bit.”

Last season, the guard appeared in only 29 games due to an abdominal injury. Statistically, he’s playing a little better now than he did all of last year. In the 2021-22 season, Lillard averaged 24 points, 4.1 boards, and 7.3 assists.

Because of Lillard’s calf injury this season, Portland has dropped in the league rankings for a few notable, offensive statistics. Twenty-one games into the season, the Trail Blazers rank 23rd in scoring, averaging 109.8 points per game.

Likewise, their offensive efficiency ranks 1.090, which ranks 16th overall. Nonetheless, their defense is still one of the best in the NBA. They rank ninth in opponent points, allowing 110.7 points per game.

Not to mention, the Trail Blazers are still shooting the ball with accuracy. Their team floor percentage is the 13th-best in the rankings (50.2%). In the end, wins are the most important stat. Without Damian Lillard, the Blazers are not the same team.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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