Through two seasons in the NBA, DeAndre Liggins has been a player in waiting, summoned only to come off the bench, never to start. But for the first time in his career, with the Oklahoma City Thunder missing two starters Sunday at the Rose Garden, the 24-year-old guard from Kentucky finally was one of the starting five.
Fighting through nerves, Liggins was perfect from 3-point range and finished with 11 points. But on a night when defense meant more than offense, Liggins was one of the key factors in a gritty 87-83 win over the Trail Blazers.
“This was my breakout performance, my first start as an NBA player,” Liggins said. “It’s a blessing. I played well today, but my thing is to continue to get better every day and try to learn.”