The Portland Trail Blazers went down 0-2 in their first round playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers, losing 81-102 at Staples on Wednesday. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were, again, hampered by aggressive trapping from the Clippers' defense. Returning home for games 3 and 4, the Blazers are looking forward to a chance to even things up. CSNNW brings us the post-game interviews.
You’ve been down 0-2 now in your last two playoff series. Does this one feel any different? Do you feel any different about this team or about the way you guys are 0-2?
Well, the first time was against the Spurs. They won the championship that year. Last year, against a really good Memphis team, we had some injuries—that’s not an excuse—but we were just trying to find it last season. I think this year, it’s just been a year of growth. Over the course of the season, we’ve taken everything in stride and we’ve just continued to grow. I think these first two games is also a part of the growth of this team.
A team coming out and playing with that playoff intensity and being able to adjust and see what a team is doing and make them pay for things—stuff like that. So, like I said, we aren’t the first team to lose the first two games, but I’m excited and happy with the way that our team is in a situation like this as far as confidence goes. Just being able to move on. They had their two home games and they handled their business. Now we going to have two home games. We’re a really good home team and we’ll see how it goes from here on.
Dame, do you feel like you got better shots in Game 2, sort of adjusting to their defense, what they’re doing trapping the ball and stuff?
Yeah, especially at the start of the game I got a lot of good looks. I missed a wide open point blank layup, and when you get those looks early in the game you got to knock them down; especially when you know the type of attention that you’re going to get in a playoff series like this one. They’re over there trapping and sending two guys and loading up against myself and CJ. I got a lot more clean looks tonight. The ball didn’t go in as much as I would have liked to; especially with us being in the game, I think if I would have had it going it would have came down to the last couple minutes, but they didn’t. They handled their business here, and now we got to try to go get one for Game 3.
I think I got off to a good start in the first quarter, got some good looks and I knocked them down. That always helps when you start the game off making shots. I think to be able to stand out, like Dame said, we got some good looks. I had some good mid-range shots that I didn’t make. I had a wide open three in the corner in transition. We’re going to make those shots nine times out of ten, and those are the types of shots we have to make. I think going forward we will.
In terms of being able to stop their runs; it’s one quarter or one lapse every game that happens. Tonight it happened in the first half. We got down by double-digits and we ended up fighting our way back to get down by four at halftime. Then in the second half, they went on a run in the fourth quarter. We were down six—I believe it was—going into the fourth quarter. Went on a run—10-0 run, 12-2 run—those type of runs change the complex of the game.
I feel like everybody’s fine. Came in with positive energy at the end of the game. We know we got two at the house so it’s up to us to take advantage of that.
What do you think you have to do better in Game 3?
I feel like we doing all the right things. Just shots not going for us right now. Once we start making shots, I feel like everything will be better. We’re playing tendencies well. We’re doing all the things that we wanted to adjust to. We’re doing all the things, like I said, it’s just not making shots right now.
How much of that do you attribute to their defense?
We’re getting good looks, moving the ball well, sometimes it’s just not your night and the first two games were a struggle for us shooting the ball, but I feel like we’ll be fine. Headed home, got your crowd with you, and I think you’ll be alright.
You guys kept it close for three quarters. What changed in the fourth? What got away from you?
I feel like they started making a lot of shots, they started getting stops, and it seemed like their offense started clicking for them in the fourth quarter. Like I said, when they making shots and you see us getting good looks and we keep missing them, it’s kind of deflating. We just got to make shots, really. That’s all we got to do. I feel like we did a really good job defensively—did everything that we needed to do—played three good quarters and the last one just slipped away from us.
Does that make it worse that you guys were right there and then it ends up this way?
Not really. I mean, a basketball game is a game of runs and they made their run at the end. It’s too late for us, but I feel like we’ll be fine headed home. I feel like we can turn thing around and once we start making shots, I feel like we can really get in it.
What do you make of your game? What do you need to do to turn your game around?
I don’t know… be more aggressive offensively, try to find other ways to score in the offense. That’s all I can think of right now.
How important is it for your bench to find a rhythm, especially with what their reserves are doing right now?
We just got to carry our load. Obviously they’re taking Dame and CJ out in the pick-and-rolls and they trapping them, but it’s up to us to make plays. I think we’ll be fine though. Like I said, we got Game 3 and Game 4 at the house, so I feel like we’ll be able to turn things around there.
Farouq, you guys were right there in the fourth. Does that make that harder for this after the result?
You could take it both ways. It do make it, like you said, a lot harder thinking that we could have pulled this one out, but, then again, looking forward—which we have to do now since it’s already in the past—it’s encouraging.
Once again, you guys got the shots. Were you happy with what you got?
Yeah, I think all of us was happy with the shots that we got. We just got to make sure that they go in. They putting a lot of pressure on our guards and it’s a lot to do. I mean, what they do every night, being able to carry the team is tough and that’s why they key in on them so much. Us being role players and different things like that, we just want to do our part as well and, hopefully, we can help these guys out.
So what’s your mindset now, going back to Portland in Game 3?
Our mindset is, man, just regroup. They did what they were supposed to do. They won at home. And now we got to do what we supposed to do. Win at home.