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Blazers Let One Get Away Against Timberwolves, Now Focus On Nuggets

Portland (43-38) can still hold onto the fifth seed, but now things get a little bit more complicated.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers nearly held off the Minnesota Timberwolves, but were unable to do so despite some late-game heroics from Damian Lillard. Now, their playoff seeding fate gets a little bit tricky, as outlined hereCSNNW brings us inside the locker room.

Damian Lillard

It was a little frustrating. We didn’t play as consistent or as urgent as we needed to in the second and third and fourth quarter, after a great start to the game, so it was a little frustrating—especially giving ourselves a lead at the end. You know, coming down to three seconds and we need one stop. Basically, because we probably didn’t deserve to win, we didn’t. A play like that happens at the end and I think it’s so much bigger than that play. A lot of things that we didn’t do well… they had a lot of times where they scored five and six possessions in a row. We just weren’t sharp enough, and it came back to bite us in the end.

Were they trying to intentionally foul you when you put up the three that you took?

Nah, he wasn’t. When I caught the ball, I ripped to the left and he was still running in the opposite direction, he reached in for the ball. When he reached in, he just happened to come across my wrist when I was raising up to shoot. It was kind of perfect timing.

I know you guys never like to lose, but can this be good in any way for, like, a wakeup call?

I don’t think we were sleeping on the possibilities. They just beat the Warriors in Golden State, so that lets you know right there that they’re capable, they got a lot of talent, and—like I been saying all year—who are we to look down on any opponent? They came in and played a good game.

I wasn’t saying that so much, just more, like, for you guys, your own—

Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of things we could take from it. When we do things well defensively, when we communicate, we help each other out, we play physical, we play smart, and offensively we move the ball we’re at our best. Tonight we did it in spurts. When we do it in spurts, we allow teams to do like Minnesota did tonight.

You guys obviously controlled your own destiny coming in here. Is it extra frustrating in light of that? Now you have to kind of sit back and get help.

We in the playoffs. We just want to do the right things every game. That’s the biggest thing is play the right way and give ourselves a chance every night—our best chance. Tonight, we didn’t do that, but like I said, we’re in and whoever we end up play, that’s what it is, but we want to push ourselves to get as high as we can and finish the season off the right way.

What are you going to take from this heading into your last game with Denver?

You can’t take the game for granted. You can’t think that teams are going to come out and just lay down. Even though Minnesota or Denver won’t be in the playoffs, they’re both playing hard right now. Their season is coming to an end and we got to be that much more sharp—especially because we’re a young team that nobody expected anything from, and some of these teams look at us like they should be in our position and we’re the team that they can beat. So we got to be much sharper.

Mason Plumlee

[Karl-Anthony Towns] was obviously a big weapon for them tonight.

Yeah. He scored a lot, hit shots and made plays.

Do you feel like you let an opportunity slip away tonight?

For sure. We knew the importance of this game. I think we tried to save it at the end, but we didn’t really play with a purpose throughout the game and I think that’s why it was so close going down the stretch.

How would you describe [indiscernible]?

It’s not a good feeling. We know we let one get away. Now it’s wait and see. We’re in a position where we were in control; now we’re not in control, so we just have to wait and see and then beat Denver.