In what has been widely regarded as the most entertaining game of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers lost an overtime shootout to the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors now take a 3-1 series lead and travel back to Oakland for Game 5 on Wednesday night. CSNNW brings us the post-game interviews.
It’s tough whenever you go down 3-1 against a very good team. Puts you in a tough situation. Got to protect home court and they say it’s not a series until you lose at home, and we lost at home today.
What were your thoughts about [Stephen] Curry’s performance?
I thought he played really well down the stretch. I think Shaun Livingston going out gave him a chance to play some extended minutes and probably break whatever minutes restrictions he had. I thought he started hitting threes down the stretch. I think he finished 5-of-16, but in the second half he hit some big shots from three. He got open, we didn’t have tight enough pick-and-roll coverage, I think we were playing back a little too far just not being used to him playing just because he’s been out for so long and, being used to Shaun Livingston coming off screens, it was a little different with him and he made some big shots down the stretch, We gave up some offensive rebounds and had a terrible turnover down the stretch that really cost us.
It’s kind of like an avalanche when he gets going—everybody starts feeding off him—I don’t know how you would describe what that’s like in that moment.
Yeah, they got a lot of transition baskets. Was it third quarter? Fourth quarter? They got a lot of transition baskets, and then in overtime we turned the ball over and that led to transition layups, transition threes, and that’s when the game kind of separated.
Any positives you can take away from this game going into your next?
I mean, we competed. We played hard, we controlled the game for the most part. I think we got to finish the game in regulation. We had a good chance. Our best player had a shot. It didn’t fall and I think—down the stretch—we played like we were tired. We got to finish games stronger, mentally and physically being able to close those type of games out. That’s what championship teams do and that’s what they did.
Were there some of these things like in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and then tonight that can stick with you that can eventually be good things?
Execution. We got to execute better down the stretch. I got to do a better job of getting in the lane and making the play, not only for myself, but for somebody else when the defense collapses. We’re a young team. There’s no excuses. We’re out her competing at a high level and we got to finish these type of games, especially at home, but now we got to turn the page, watch the film, and see where we can improve, knowing that we’re going to be in a hostile environment on the road.
When Steph starts to make shots like that, at that rate he was, does that put more pressure on you guys on the offensive end? Do you feel like you have to score every time you’re going down there?
I mean, you want to get a good shot and get a good look every possession offensively just because they’re such a good defensive team. When he scores, that means you’re taking the ball out of bounds and you’re not able to get out and run in transition. I think that was the difference in the first half and the second half; we didn’t get enough stops to where we were able to get out and run and build some momentum.
It’s been crazy just because we realize the opportunity that we have playing against the best team in the league and not much being expected of us. We want to go out there and make a statement and we want to go out there and make sure they respect us and make sure that they understand it’s not going to be what everybody think it’s going to be. It’s not going to be no rolling over. It’s not going to be no out here being scared. It’s not going to be any of that, and I think our team has done that. Every game, we’ve gone out there and fought and we’ve believed that we can get it done, and I think it’s shown. We could have won the last three games. We were in position to win the last three games and we had slippage. A championship team is going to take advantage of that. That’s what they did.
Dame, to be part of a game like that, how exciting was it and how tough is it to lose that one?
It was a really fun game. Both teams competed really hard. I thought both teams was really tired. Guys were beat out there and both teams pushed through. They took advantage of our slip-ups in our pick-and-roll coverages. We didn’t make some shots, we had some turnovers, and we didn’t execute well enough or defend well enough down the stretch to win the game.
Dame, how do you feel you performed in this game coming off your performance, and your thoughts on Steph Curry’s game and his return and that back-and-forth?
I thought I played well. I didn’t have my greatest shooting night but, at this point in the season, I’ve been telling myself and my teammates have been telling me to go out there and just be in attack mode and be aggressive the whole time, we’ll live with the results. So that’s kind of been my mindset this whole series, but as far as Steph, he had a great performance. He’s been great all season. He’s the MVP again for a reason and, you know, he’s been out for two weeks.
The kind of player he is, I’m sure he hasn’t been sitting around. He was a little bit rusty in the first half but, like I said, the second half we had some blown coverages, miscommunications, and we allowed him to come off and get off and get wide open shots. Then he got going. With a player like him, they see a couple go in, he going to start bouncing around and feeling himself. That’s just what happened. It got to the point where because we had blow coverages, he got in a groove to where he started making contested shots too. He had a hell of a game.
Dame, Mike Richman, The Oregonian—Can you just describe sort of the feeling in the locker room after a loss like this? What were guys like?
It was kind of draining. We played really well Game 3, got the win. Game 2 we played really well—we let that one slip away. And then tonight we played well again. Like I’ve been saying, they’re a championship team. I thought we competed with them. We were right there. We were one or two stops from winning the game, but we right there. It wasn’t a… we’re not out here getting blown out. We’re not out here getting bullied. We competing. Every game, we’re competing for a win and they know that. We let another one get away, but next game we got to go out there and try to get one on their court.
He really shot his way into the game. He got a real rhythm down the stretch and played spectacular in overtime.
How difficult is this? The control that you guys had—?
Look, it’s a loss. We got to go win in San Francisco. That’s our mentality. You have to have a short memory. We know we can beat them, we just have to go there and do it. It’s a must-win. Everything’s a must-win now, so just got to go to San Fran and get a win.
Does it hurt any more that you led a good portion of that game?
Nah, man. It’s a loss. Do or die now. Go there, get a win, come back home.
It was an incredible game to watch. How was it to play? So much intensity.
You’re just focused on the next play. They made more plays. I think, at the end of regulation, some 50-50 balls—there were some things we could have come up with to seal it, and we didn’t do that. Probably too many turnovers offensively led to leak-outs for them, but we just have to take better care of the ball and play better down the stretch.
Was it at all surprising when they gave it to [Harrison] Barnes at the end of regulation to tie it up?
You’re talking about for the three or the post-up? The three?
Did they set that play up for him to pop to the wing? It was a nice little play. He hit a big shot, but yeah, probably surprised just because Steph and Klay [Thompson] get the volume of their plays.
You said you were going to San Francisco to win again. How do you have to approach it mentally to withstand what is obviously going to be a raucous crowd?
We just have to lock in and do it possession by possession. You can’t think about anything more than the possession at hand. If we put four quarters together, we’re very capable, and we believe that we can go and do that.
He carried them in OT, but we had our chance. A couple stops, we could have finished it in regulation but that’s basketball. Things happen.
You guys have overcome a lot all season, including in the playoffs, how do you bounce back from a loss like this?
We just got to take it one day at a time. We can’t look ahead to Game 6 or Game 7, we just got to focus on Game 5 and just try to be prepared as best we can.
I know you’ve seen Steph get off like that similarly, but how surprising was it considering he hadn’t played in three weeks for him to be able to do that?
He’s the MVP of the league. Obviously he can get it going. He had a good game.
How would you describe the mood in the locker room afterward?
I would say quiet. It’s tough being down 3-1. It’s tough. Especially to the defending champions and, you know, getting a win there is going to be tough, but we going to fight and, like we said, look at some film and be ready to go.