The Portland Trail Blazers finished their home stand with a 99-85 win over the Utah Jazz. Damian Lillard tallied 21 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists through three quarters, but sat out the fourth as the Blazers pulled away. While the rare bit of rest was welcome, Lillard would have liked to notch a triple-double. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room.
We didn’t play very well offensively, but we came out, we guarded very physical. We made it tough on them, we made it uncomfortable for them, so we was able to still be up in the game—even though we didn’t shoot the ball well—because f how we defended. It always comes back, so in the second half we started to shoot the ball better and, at the start, so did they, but we was able to get it in check and kind of lock it back up.
It seems like in the beginning of third quarters recently, you’ve really been able to come out and kind of assert yourself. It seems like getting off to quick scoring starts. Can you attribute that to anything?
I think it’s pretty simple. At the start of a game, people are locked in on the scouting report and they want to come in and stop you and they really focused and they got a lot of energy, and then, as the game goes on, everybody wears down physically and mentally. At the start of that third, the focus isn’t as much there as it is to start a game, neither is the energy, so those are the times where I try to pick my spots and get aggressive.
I mean, I would have liked to. I thought, because we were kind of going away at the end of the third, that I would start the fourth just to see how it goes and then he would eventually take me out, but we did what we usually do. I came out at the end of the third and we played well enough to separate ourselves, so I didn’t get back in.
Are you cool with that?
Yeah, I mean, it was good for me to get that rest in that quarter. Obviously I would have liked to get the triple-double. I think that’s as early as I’ve been that close, with a hole quarter to go, but I’ll have plenty of other opportunities.
You’ve been close a couple times, and the others you said, like, they wouldn’t have counted if you got cheap ones in the ends of losses. Would this one have counted in your book?
Yeah, it would have counted because I was there early. We had a whole quarter to play and I just needed three rebounds, but, like I said, I’m sure it will happen sooner or later.
This is probably your longest quote-unquote "slump" shooting slump of the season. Are you concerned?
No, I’m not concerned.
I’m getting good shots. I missed some layups tonight, so I’m able to get to the basket. Offensively, trying to make the right reads, right plays. I think I had two turnovers tonight. So just continue to try to make the right plays. Shots are going to come, they’re going to fall. I’m getting my reps every day, so only a matter of time before I start making layups again. I had some mid-range shots roll out, but it happens.
I know our workload won’t change. You know, we got a good group of guys who come in every day, are attentive, and put in work and come in with great attitudes. I hope that we can, like I said before, be more consistent on both ends of the floor. I think if we can tackle that, then it’ll look good for us going forward.
What did you like about the defense tonight?
It was great, it was great. We played defense both halves, and no matter how our offense went at different times, our defense was there consistently, so that’s a good sign.
It seemed like you got into a nice rhythm on the offensive end tonight.
Yeah, I hit a few shots there in the first half and I was on the end of a few good passes from my teammates and just knocked the shots down.
It seems like your second quarter was a little bit of a catalyst going into the third quarter. You guys sort of pulled away.
Yeah, we had a good group there in that second quarter—good defensive group too, and then offensively we were attacking and finding each other. It definitely helped us in the second half.
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