The Trail Blazers have once again fallen victim to the Warriors in the playoffs, marking the second consecutive year that Golden State has bounced Portland from postseason play. After two seasons, those defeats have evoked the feelings of both appreciation and obsession from Damian Lillard.
In the aftermath of the Blazers’ Game 4 defeat, the former Weber State star shared his feelings with Chris Haynes of ESPN.
"You have to be obsessed with that because you know that they're so good that they're going to be there," Lillard said after a 128-103 loss in Game 4. "That's who you're going to have to get through to get to where you want to get to. That's what it is."
After losing eight of the last nine playoff contests against Golden State, it appears that Lillard is beginning to look at the competition against the defending Western Conference Champions as a rite of passage for the developing Blazers.
"You also got to understand that if you ever want to get out of the West, you're going to have to go through them," Lillard said during his media address. "And for me, I understand that's what it is. It's always been that way in the NBA. I think about when the Pistons were just beating up on [Michael] Jordan. [They] were just kicking his butt every year, and he had to get through them if he wanted to get to where he wanted to get to. That's just what it is. [The Warriors are] going to be there. They're going to be there every year. We have to look at that and understand that we got to be better. We have to go get better,and come back better as a group if we want to move past them."
Lillard’s appreciation for the Warriors’ consistency spilled over into his exit interview earlier today, as he pointed to Golden State’s winning culture as a model for what Portland should strive for moving forward. Despite being swept, the young Blazers should be able to retain a few valuable lessons from the series as they move into the offseason.