The Portland Trail Blazers soundly thumped the Miami Heat in a true team victory on Saturday. Just about everyone's shots were falling, so much so that Damian Lillard was able to rest the entire fourth quarter. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room for Lillard's thoughts on the win.
Maybe from the outside, people might be surprised because we don’t have guys who are labeled as shooters, but when we saw our team and we played pick-up, we knew the guys shot the ball a lot better than people expected or what people knew, so it doesn’t really surprise me that we’ve been able to do it.
Do you feel like this team goes to Oakland feeling any different about itself than last time?
I mean, we felt good going in last time. We were in a good stretch, we were playing well, and we feel the same now. Everybody’s human. Everybody laces up their shoes the same. Golden State has been a great team all season long, but anybody can be beat on any given night. You know, Boston winning there—and they had a tough one with us the night before—they just played hard. They didn’t back down, and we got to go in there with that same attitude.
Would you expect the Warriors to be a little ticked off after losing last night?
They’re a great team. They bring it every night, so I don’t think they get too emotionally invested in things like that. It’s their what, eighth loss? I wish I had eight losses. They hadn’t lost at home, but they probably were pissed off about it that night, but they going to come out and be who they are. It’s going to be tough to get it done. We got to go in there ready for that challenge.
I think we’ve played better. Tonight we played one of our best games, but the games before this we could have done a lot of things better. I think tonight we moved the ball really well, we played great team defense and really good individual defense. This was the first time we did it for long periods of time. We didn’t have the best first quarter, but the second and third quarter, we got after them. Like I said, great team defense, great individual defense— that allowed us to get out and run at them—we moved the ball, everybody was involved, and it was a dominant game by our team.
That’s what I mean. I think, like, for the most part of the whole season, everyone is contributing. At times there’ll be certain people that carry.
Yeah, you see that throughout the league. There’s always times that presents itself where the best player has to take over a gam, or another guys has to step up and have a huge game like our last game—Chief [Al-Farouq Aminu] had a huge game for us—but every once in a while, you just see a great group effort. Tonight that’s what we had, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and I think that’s what allowed us to separate ourselves.
What did CJ [McCollum] do for you guys tonight?
The same thing he’s done all season long. Not just score the ball; he’s gotten a lot better as a playmaker. At the beginning of the season, everybody knew he was going to score the ball, you know, he could score in bunches, and now that myself and CJ is getting a lot of attention, some of the shots aren’t there as early. He’s finding guys, he’s hitting Mase [Plumlee] in the pocket, he’s seeing us get play; in transition, he’s hitting guys, he’s passing ahead, so the fact that he’s gotten better in that part of his game has really helped our team.