Damian Lillard shared some heartfelt, and harsh, words about the Portland Trail Blazers following their 122-103 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night. Jason Quick of The Athletic collated the observations, given in a post-game press conference.
Lillard’s frank assessment began with Portland’s performance against quality NBA opponents, which the All-Star guard described as being “put away”. Then Lillard went for the central point:
“We have to look in the mirror, and you gotta look at it,” Lillard said. “You have to look at the games we’ve won, and you have to look at the games we’ve struggled in. The games we’ve struggled in have been against the top-level competition. I don’t think it’s hard to see. I’m not saying nothing that’s not obvious.
“I think for us, the first step is just acknowledging the fact that’s the truth. And just being sharper, and locked in, and just taking that to heart. Having some pride about the fact that we don’t play well against the top-level teams. We have to take that to heart … have something prove. Have some pride about those games. I think that’s the start.”
The Blazers now own an 8-14 record, a 36.4% winning percentage, against teams with a .500 or better record.
Quick’s piece also includes discussion of the Carmelo Anthony-Enes Kanter pairing, hope pinned on Derrick Jones, Jr., and the slowly-dawning realization that the Blazers will go as center Jusuf Nurkic goes.