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On Verge Of Being Swept, Blazers Say “All We Can Do Is Fight”

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During media availability, Lillard, McCollum, and Nurkic discussed the long odds, and increasing their physical play.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a brutal 119-102 loss to the Pelicans, the Blazers met with the press during afternoon shootaround. In a subdued atmosphere, the Blazers acknowledged the task ahead of them, and discussed possible changes.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett recapped Damian Lillard’s thoughts about Saturday’s “win or go on summer vacation” game. Among many quotes (click through for more), Lillard openly states the importance of fighting back against the more aggressive Pelicans.

“They were up into us a lot, a lot more aggressive than we were. And we didn’t dish it back out,” Lillard said. “I think in the playoffs and in a situation like this, when a team is coming for you like that, you’ve gotta maybe go out of your way to do it back -- even if that means some foul trouble or some altercations happen out there or whatever.

Triplett also notes that Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry expects the best from Lillard Saturday. However, he thinks his team will be ready.

“I mean, we still have appropriate fear. And I think you have to in these situations. We still have another game to win.”

OregonLive’s Andrew Greif also covered shootaround, with quotes from Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum. Nurkic says he still believes in the team, despite the state of the series.

“So it’s not about like, they’re way better than us,” he said. “They make the shots, we didn’t. For us, we’re not playing great and that’s not who we are and that’s a problem.

”When the playoffs are different, every game matters for us. We’re 0-3 and all we can do is fight.”

Lillard, McCollum, and Nurkic are the only Blazers who seemingly talked to the press. In a rare event, Terry Stotts, who was present at shootaround, did not talk to the press. On NBC Sports Northwest’s The Bridge, Jason Quick recapped the player interviews, and discussed the uniqueness of Stotts’ absence.

He also explained it in text with a column for NBC Sports Northwest where he recapped media availability.

And if the Blazers’ coach took offense to it, or thought anything of it, he didn’t say Friday as Terry Stotts was strangely made unavailable to the media even though he was 10 feet away from the camera and microphones, talking to Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations.

According to a team spokesman, there wasn’t enough time for Stotts to talk, because the team had to practice, which ignored the fact that the team was more than 15 minutes late in arriving.

The Blazers and Pelicans tip off Game 4 Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm PDT on NBC Sports Northwest and TNT.