Nassir Little has been one of the brightest spots for the Portland Trail Blazers in the young, 2021-22 season. Between good defense, fantastic rebounding, and a newfound aggression on offense, Little is setting the court on fire, drawing comparisons to another legendary Portland small forward, Jerome Kersey.
Today Casey Holdahl of the Trail Blazers shared that Little’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed in the Portland locker room, and have attracted the attention of franchise superstar Damian Lillard.
Per Holdahl, during Portland’s 104-92 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night, Lillard coached Little to look for his own shot, dunking over opponents whenever possible.
The catalyst was a first-half play where Lillard hit Little with a pass on the run, expecting him to head to the rim for the finish. Instead Little tried to lob in turn to Larry Nance, Jr., who couldn’t finish the play.
Holdahl quotes Lillard describing his reaction:
“I cussed his ass out in the first half when he tried to throw a lob when I threw it to him and it ended up being a turnover,” said Lillard. “I’m like ‘What are you doing? You’re not a lob thrower, I’ve never seem you throw a lob. Dude is under the basket, you running full speed, dunk on him...”
In the third period, Lillard found Little streaking down the floor again. This time, the third-year forward responded with this jam:
According to the article, Little had taken Lillard’s chastisement to heart.
“(Lillard) got on me, he let me have it so I had to make up for it some way,” said Little. “He’s like ‘I passed it to you for a reason, finish the play.’”
The Blazers will face the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at 5:00, Pacific. News broke today that they’ll be playing without Lillard in that game due to an ongoing abdominal issue.