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Blazers Embraced Challenge Of Competing With Warriors

It's hard to fault a team for losing in The Oracle this year. A monster performance from Lillard kept the Blazers competitive through most of the night.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers played the Golden State Warriors close, but were unraveled in the fourth quarter, losing 111-136 on Sunday. The overarching highlight of the game was the duel between Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry, who each poured in nearly 40 points. Despite the loss, the Blazers felt good about their performance. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room.

Allen Crabbe

Allen, just, what can you guys learn from a game like this?

I don’t really know. I mean, it’s the fourth time we’ve played them. We know what they do. They just… Steph and Klay [Thompson] had big games and I feel like once both of them have big games, they’re a pretty tough team to beat. We took some things away in the first half and then they started making shots. Like I said as well, once they start making shots, they’re rolling because it opens up a lot of other things for them. We try to play it real close when players start making shots, but then it opens up backdoors or screens or anything. They just have a lot of weapons and they have a lot of things that they can go to, so once they got it going, it’s hard to stop them.

Yeah, like, when you’re in the moment and they’re hitting those shots one after another, can you feel that? That ‘Oh boy, it’s slipping away’? What’s it like when you’re in battle?

You just got to keep your head during those things, but sometimes they do hit some shots and it’s just like ‘Man, how did you make that?’ but it’s a part of basketball, it’s a part of the way they play. They’ve been playing that way all year, so it’s not a surprise, it’s just something that you just have to play through. With them being at home, their crowd gets them into it as well and they make a lot of tough shots, but at the end of the day we just have to keep our mindset of just playing through. They make runs; we make our runs, but it’s just about sustaining them and keeping them from doing what they do best.

I know you guys aren’t worried about him, but it had to be nice to see Dame get hot again.

Oh yeah. I mean, like you said, we don’t got to worry about it. We know what Dame is and we know what Dame means to this team. Regardless of him scoring, he can do a lot of other things for us that can help us and put us in successful positions to win, so we not worried about that, man. Like I said, Dame is Dame. We know what he’s going to bring to the table each and every night, so if he has an off-game, we know it’s just an off-game. We got to ask why—NBA, you play 82 and have one bad night, then you got another game the next day, so you know you could make up for it, but we know what Dame is about.

CJ McCollum

I thought we played hard. We competed. We gave ourselves a chance throughout most of the game. They went on a run—I think—third quarter, and then towards the end of the game they went on another run, but, like I said, I thought we competed and executed fairly well besides some turnovers and some transition opportunities that we squandered away and gave up to them. I thought we played hard.

Was that the hard thing about them? Just knowing that they can score in bunches on you?

They’re going to go on runs no matter who they’re playing. At some point throughout the game they’re going to go on a run where they hit some shots in a row, it’s more about how you respond. I think we answered. Dame hit some big shots and we kind of answered. We got stops—enough to kind of keep the game competitive and stay within that six to seven range and then got it down to five and four, and then one they got 11, 12, 13; that’s when the game becomes more difficult because a 3-0 run, 6-0 run, 9-0 run off of 3-pointers changes the whole game.

Speaking of competitive feel, it seemed like there was a time when Dame and Steph were kind of going toe-to-toe. I think the whole game kind of had a playoff feel.

Yeah, it’s a good atmosphere out here at The Oracle. The fans are very engaged, and when they shoot, they get in that rhythm, the crowd gets into it even more. I think, like you said before, they were going back-and-forth and it was fun to watch.

Damian Lillard

I thought we played a really good game. In the first half… we had the lead for a lot of the first half. We knew it was a tough game—a tough team—coming in. They just lost their first game here in their last game. End of the first half, we let them get on a little bit of a run, but it was just a six or seven-point game. We felt good about where we were. Came out in the second half, they got hot. They got some open looks, but I thought we competed really hard. We gave ourselves a chance.

I think at the end of the third—two minutes left—we were down five points. Then in the fourth quarter we cut it to, like, eight points with, like, five minutes left. They’ve lost eight games for a reason. They’re very explosive offensively. That’s kind of what happened there in the last couple minutes. They just exploded on us. They ran off a bunch of points and they separated themselves. It’s nothing for us to be ashamed of. I don’t think the score said the way the game went.

There was a stretch there where you and Steph were trading blows. How would you describe that kind of period?

Embracing the competition. It was a big game for them, as far as the history that they’re chasing. They just lost a game at home; we’re trying to get a spot in the playoffs. We won four games and we like what we’re doing as well. He wanted his team to win the game and I wanted my team to win the game. I think there for a second, we just went at it for a little bit.