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Damian Lillard Talks Crunch Time and Fourth Quarter Struggles

"Lillard Time" hasn't been quite the same since opposing teams have shifted their primary focus to the Trail Blazers point guard in late-game situations.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Following another Portland loss in which the young Blazers were within striking distance late in the fourth quarter, Damian Lillard says his team still has to learn how to win games in crunch time.

Lillard's statement per CSNNW's Jason Quick:

"We just have to learn how to win,'' Lillard said. "Against Memphis, we give ourselves a chance ...  but we don't know how to win that game. Tonight, we don't know how to finish this game.  So I think it's a matter of us learning how to win games. Down the stretch we do all these things to give ourselves a chance, then when it's winning time, other teams are doing a better job of winning the game.''

Lillard continued, outlining the roster overhaul and how that has affected the once potent "Lillard Time." The all-star point guard has struggled late in games with an increased load and an inexperienced supporting cast relative to last season. For the season, Lillard is shooting 14-for-58 in the fourth quarter (24.1 percent), including 6-for-28 from three-point range (21.4 percent).

"It's a different role now,'' Lillard said after scoring 27 against the Spurs. "Last year, we had a bunch of guys who teams were really worried about. We had been together three years, the team knew what it was, so it was easy to figure out for me.

"Now, when we come down in late-game situations and teams are trapping me, they are showing me the attention,'' Lillard said. "It's up to me to trust and make the right play.''

Read Quick's entire piece here.

The Blazers return to action tomorrow night in Houston, taking on the 4-7 Rockets. Tip off is set for 5:00 p.m. PST and the game will shown on CSNNW.