The Trail Blazers are playing their best basketball of the season, winners in eight of their last ten. Most of that success can be traced back to the stellar play of Damian Lillard. Portland’s star has been on a tear since the All-Star break, and Jason Quick of CSNNW shared the conversation he had with Lillard about what changes the guard made in mid-February.
Lillard admitted to Quick that the Blazers’ struggles was just one issue weighing heavily on his mind this season. The Oakland native kept the specifics of the issue private, but alluded to how his personal life was impacting him emotionally.
“If it’s really in my heart, it’s going to weigh on me, consume me,’’ Lillard said while touching his chest.
“It wasn’t like I was going through something off the court, then it was working out on the court,’’ Lillard remembered. “It was like – we’re losing games, we’re not performing like we need to, I’m not playing my best basketball, and I’ve got things stressing me off the floor. It was kind of a tough spot.’’
Portland’s point guard goes on to acknowledge that a change was needed before play resumed after the break.
“I was trying to do what I need to do on the court, but I also had some personal things with my family, and I was trying to manage all this stuff,’’ Lillard said. “It was wearing me out. It was just hard.’’
While the NBA was celebrating in New Orleans, Lillard used the time to reconnect with the people he holds closest to him.
“Had a long conversation with grandma. We talked about it,’’ Lillard said. “Called my uncle. We talked about it. It was real helpful. When people genuinely love you, and they care about you and they know who you are as a person, they can come forward, and that’s what my family did. Just hearing those voices and having that support, it allowed me to relax.’’
“That was the first time in a long time that I allowed people to pour into me, to give something to me,’’ Lillard said.
Lillard goes on to tell Quick how well the plan worked to calm his emotions.
“A weight,’’ Lillard said, “was lifted off my back.’’
The results have been clear, the former Weber State star is averaging 31.1 points per game in the month of March, pulling the Blazers within a half-game of the Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Be sure to check out Quick’s full story at CSNNW for more quotes from Lillard and his teammates.