One thing has been noticeable with CJ McCollum out of the Trail Blazers’ lineup due to a knee injury: Damian Lillard’s passing. Lillard has racked up two double-doubles with assists in the past two games, both of which McCollum has missed. The emphasis on passing is part of the evolving thought that Lillard puts into the game, he told Jason Quick of The Athletic (subscription to The Athletic required):
As a result, his seventh NBA season has become his finest, with his physical attributes now complemented by calculated and educated precision.
“You are who you are as far as your ability,” Lillard said. “But the way you think the game is how you make a jump.”
The focus on growing in different ways has led to Lillard’s recent passing displays:
“Something that I have been challenging myself at this year is being able to dominate the game without using my scoring ability all the time,” Lillard said.
Teammate Moe Harkless complimented Lillard’s recent play:
“I think he is doing a really good job trying to get everyone involved,” Harkless said. “I think he knows, and we all know, that we are so much better when everybody can get in the flow and teams have to worry about everybody knocking down shots. I think he does a good job trying to get guys involved early, knowing that he can always take over at the end of the game.”
You can read more from Quick’s piece here (subscription to The Athletic required).