Damian Lillard.

Erik Spoelstra becomes the latest to endorse Damian Lillard as an MVP candidate

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Damian Lillard has been on fire for the Portland Trail Blazers since the All-Star break and has inspired a 10-game winning streak for his team. 

The point guard has produced some of the best basketball of his career during the stretch and throughout the season. 

His form has been the catalyst for Portland's unexpected surge to the number three spot in the Western Conference. 

On Monday night against the Miami Heat, he put on a show to extend their winning run into double figures. 

The 27-year-old torched Miami for 32 points and 10 assists in a 115-99 win at the Moda Center. He shot 8-of-19 from the field and an eye-catching 7-of-14 from three-point range. 

His displays have had opposing coaches gushing recently with New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek claiming he should be in the MVP consideration after he dropped 37 points on them last week. 

After his stunning performance against the Heat, Erik Spoelstra became the latest person to endorse Lillard for the league's top individual honour. 

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat

"I don't know if there is any other player in this league right now that is playing at a higher level than Lillard," Spoelstra said, per ESPN. "You know the names in the MVP conversation. The way he's playing right now and winning, he deserves to be in that conversation as well."

It's hard to argue against that assessment as the Blazers superstar has put up extraordinary numbers over this 10-game winning streak. 

He's scored 30 or more points in six of those encounters and has notched 40+ points twice. Overall, he's put up almost 33 points, six assists and four rebounds over that period. 

"It's not just about him being a great player, it is the timing of his greatness, that is so unique," Spoelstra added. "Every time there needs to be a big time play, or if momentum started to go our way, he made that play."

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat

His own head coach, Terry Stotts, heaped even more praise on the three-time All-Star by claiming he might be at the best level of his career. 

"I think this might be the best level that he's played," Stotts said. "I thought what he did last year after the All-Star break was amazing. He carried us to the playoffs last year, showing great leadership and a high quality of play. It might be better this year, but we still have 16 games to go."

For the season, 'Dame Dolla' is averaging 26.9 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game and is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves. 

It might be a stretch to include him in MVP talks at the moment but there is no doubt that he can be a serious contender the award in the future if he keeps producing at this level and brings success to Portland.

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CJ McCollum
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Damian Lillard

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