The Trail Blazers recorded their first road win of the 2020-21 season thanks to an impressive performance from third-year guard Gary Trent Jr. The former Duke standout notched 28 points off the bench in a game that followed just a six-minute outing against the Rockets on Saturday.
After the game The Athletic’s Jason Quick asked Damian Lillard about Trent’s ability to overcome adversity on a short turnaround. Lillard explained that he was keeping tabs on Trent after his brief outing against the Rockets.
“I would assume any young player who was coming off the kind of season he had last season would expect to be in the rotation, you know, for more than six minutes,” Blazers captain Damian Lillard said. “So when that happened, I was like, let’s see how he responds.”
Lillard then went on to praise Trent’s character and performance.
“The easy thing to do is to get mad, get in your own way, you know, get in your own head, cancel yourself out,” Lillard said. “And it’s usually hard for young players to overcome that, get out of their own way sometimes. So I think it just said a lot about him, that he came out in a big game for us … right after that (5:55) game and have this kind of performance. I just think it speaks to how tough he is mentally and how locked in he is to this season, and how much it means to him. I think it was impressive.”
Outside of Lillard’s praise, coach Terry Stotts was also questioned about his decision to limit Trent’s outing on Saturday. For those of you who stuck around after the game broadcast, you were treated to an awkward exchange between Quick and Stotts. In Monday’s story, Quick highlighted Stotts’ response to that line of questioning.
Stotts didn’t really have an answer to that question on Monday, instead choosing to get defensive while tossing a word salad that was dressed with the obvious: “I have to make decisions. Whoever is out there, I have to make a decision on who plays. It’s part of my job.”
Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers did not post Stotts’ full postgame press availability on the team’s YouTube stream.
You can read the full story from Quick at The Athletic (subscription required).