The Portland Trail Blazers were routed by the Golden State Warriors 128-108 on Friday night. Many of Portland's players struggled from the field, but Damian Lillard was able to get going for a game-high 40 points. He and CJ McCollum explain what makes Golden State such a challenge. Videos via CSNNW:
I’m a confident basketball player. Coming off of an injury, I knew that I would get it going eventually. Tonight, I knew that it was going to be a challenge for—defensively and offensively—because of who they are, but I just felt good. It was a challenge and it’s only right that you come in ready for that challenge and you embrace it, but, like you said, we didn’t get the result that we was looking for.
Dame, is there a way for you to tell how talented that basketball team is and how well they play?
I don’t even think it’s about how talented they are. I think it’s how well they play together and how much of an understanding they have of what makes them them. The way they move without the ball, the way they share the ball, how they defend. You know, they’re on a string defensively. Offensively, guys know what they bring to the table; they know what the team needs from them, and they do it as best they can. I think when you do that, you have a championship team and it’s obvious why they won the championship last year and why they’ve only lost two games this season.
Did you know that no Blazer has ever had 40 points and 10 assists in this building?
I didn’t know that.
Can you tell me about it?
I mean, it’s always good to be the first one to do something; especially being a part of an organization that I plan on being a part of for my entire career, so it’s an honor, but I would have liked for it to be in a winning effort.
How tough is it to go down so much early and try to play to [indiscernible]?
It’s always tough to dig that hole, but because of the way they play, you always got a chance to get back in it. They play at a fast pace, they shoot a lot of long shots. Like you said, we got down early and then at one point I remember us cutting it to, like, 12 or something like that, and it seemed like the game was coming in our favor, and they hit two threes and it’s right back at 20. So they’re one of those teams that will let you come back in it and they can separate themselves quickly as well, so we were a victim of that tonight.
[Everyone] talks about the Warriors offense, what about their defense? Particularly Klay Thompson.
I think their defense does a good job. They play a lot of mobile players, so they do a lot of switching, a lot of switching in pick-and-rolls, and they give you the mid-range shot. It’s a low percentage shot in the NBA, and tonight I didn’t make it. A lot of guys didn’t make that shot tonight, so the defense looked good.
Is there a way to sum up how good that team is? How well they played?
They’re good. There’s a reason why they lost two games and we’re in January. They’re a good team.
Can you elaborate on what—I mean, obviously they play so well together, but they just seem like what they’re doing is so effortless.
Steph-ortless. They move around well without the ball. A lot of guys that can pass and Draymond [Green] runs a lot of point guard for them and does a good job of assisting. Offensively, they just play their roles. The guys that shoot shoot, screeners screen, and they do a good job of sharing the ball and cutting and playing a fast paced game.
You guys have been able to go down and then come back in games before, but against a team like the Warriors, is it more discouraging? Because, I mean, it’s a team that scores early and often, and they’ve only lost twice, so you know it’s going to be tough to beat them regardless, let alone if you go down by 17 in the first quarter.
Yeah, we went down by a lot early and they’ve gotten off to fast starts all season. That’s kind of how a lot of the games have went. They do a good job of pushing tempo and they don’t slow down. So, like, once they get up, they don’t slow pace down, they continue to play fast, which allows you to kind of stay in the game if you’re getting stops. We didn’t get stops tonight and they hit baskets and continued to maintain runs and extend leads when they could.
How would you describe the way Dame played? He seemed like it was probably his best game back since he got hurt obviously.
It was his second game?
Third game back? Yeah, he looked good. He was aggressive. He’s got better lift on his shot today. You could tell he’s trying to get used to some of the movements with the foot and he made some big shots. Just… I didn’t help him. We didn’t get enough help for him and, defensively, do enough things well for us to win.
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