The Portland Trail Blazers have fought tooth and nail to get back into playoff contention this season. They have won nine of their last 12 games and now sit just 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
A great deal of that renewed success is thanks to Point Guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 26.9 points per game, good for sixth best in the NBA.
Lillard spoke with Nubyjas Wilbon of The Sporting News about the team moving forward into the playoff hunt and the pressures he faces.
He expressed confidence in the team’s chances, even coming from a low seed:
“We have enough to not only make the playoffs, but maybe make some noise. I know a lot of people thought we were ahead of schedule last year. It was a bit humbling this season. We jumped the curve. We won a series and fought the Warriors tough. We kind of missed that stumbling period. Turns out we needed that growth. It's a lesson about not taking anything for granted. We have a lot of talent though and have a great coach. I believe we can give any team in the playoffs hell. I’m that confident in my squad.”
Lillard also had an interesting take regarding the pressures NBA players face.
“Pressure, nah. Fam, this is just playing ball. Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom, who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent. We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don’t get me wrong — there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people.”
Lillard also talked about his family, and dealing with Twitter trolls.