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Damian Lillard Shoulders Blame For Late Mistake In Milwaukee

The Blazers came back from 14 down to nearly beat the Bucks, but were undone by their own errors and exceptional Milwaukee play in the final possessions.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With 22 seconds to play, the Blazers led the Bucks by four points. Unfortunately, a series of smart plays by Milwaukee and some execution problems on Portland's end turned the tide in the final possessions. Damian Lillard discusses what he could have done differently after the 90-88 road loss. Videos via CSNNW.

It was one of those foul and have a possession type games that, you know, just one of those games down the stretch with under a minute where they just fouled and, again, just depended on making shots. We made free throws. I thought we defended really well. They hit a couple tough shots, contested shots, and we just had an unfortunate situation getting tied up and they took advantage of it. Then we had an opportunity to have the last possession and we weren’t able to pull it out.

Were you just not able to get open on that last inbound?

I ran the play that we drew up. I was on the opposite block and I was faking the up-screen and going to the corner. That was the play we ran.

Your coach said that a bright spot was coming back from a 14-point early deficit, but he said obviously the struggles on the last couple possessions was kind of what brought the game down. What do you guys think the key is to learn from situations like that, where you’re down early, comeback, and then…

I mean, we started slow for sure. I didn’t think we struggled in the last possessions. I thought [Michael] Carter-Williams made a good play. He came back and tied us up, they got a jump ball, and then the very last play of the game, two guys go to CJ [McCollum], we hit Meyers [Leonard], and John Henson made a good block. I don’t think we struggled at all.

Dame, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen coach come in and visit with a player after a game. What was the gist of his message?

Just, you know, the last few plays. We talked about what we could have done different basically. On the last play when CJ got tied up, my man is the one that tied him up. I probably should have ran further down the court and stayed out of the way because that’s what we wanted to do, but, in that situation, I wasn’t sure we were going to get the ball in or not, and I just felt like… I felt more comfortable running back towards the ball and trying to get a catch if that didn’t work, because I saw how they were guarding him and I guess I made the wrong play.

Dame, you guys were just talking to us about those last two minutes—

That’s what we talked about. That play. If I hadn’t—If I would have just kept going out of there then my man probably wouldn’t have been able to make that play on the ball.

Is that something that w—th—you are, or you just take that like, ‘I’ve got to learn from that?’

I mean, well, that was what we drew up. Sometimes, as a basketball player, your instincts take over and as I was running down the court, I looked back over my shoulder and I decided to run back towards the ball. It could have gone either way, but like I said, I don’t mind the fact that that was what happened, and next time I’ll do a better job of taking my man out of the play.


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