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Damian Lillard Explains Blazers’ Drive to the Finish

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated examines how another first-round exit could shake up the Blazers.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard evaluates the potential for the Trail Blazers to redeem themselves in the playoffs this season in a recent piece from Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. In the story, Lillard addresses how the team has matured, added new pieces, and embraced the sense of pressure within the team established by their first-round exit last season:

“I think so,” Lillard said. “Not based on anything from the outside. There’s more urgency because we want to get back and have another shot at it. We went into it last year with high hopes. Seeing things go one way, and then it doesn’t go that way. We’re really looking forward to that opportunity to redeem ourselves.”

Lillard goes on to explain that the team is motivated to stay together moving forward. Another early exit could result in drastic changes to the team’s makeup, impacting chemistry and other intangibles, which have proven to be a difference-maker at times for this Blazers team. Ultimately, the upcoming playoffs could be the only opportunity that this particular squad has the chance to prove their strength to Rip City and beyond.

You can read the full story at Sports Illustrated.