On the heels of Thursday night’s controversial, heartbreaking 118-117 loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Portland Trail Blazers will need to develop a quick case of amnesia. With little time to reflect or lament on what could have been, sights must shift to the 2020-21 season finale against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
According to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard views Sunday’s contest as the “most important game of the season.”
“This one is over,” Lillard said. “We got to make sure that we get this last one. So, it does no good to hold on to this game and go out there and not be locked in for the next one because the last game of the season is now the most important game of the season. So, we’ve got to move on and make sure that we handle our business at home.”
Historically, losses of that magnitude are difficult to compartmentalize in such short timing. But, the Blazers, a team often lauded for their mental toughness, seek to do just that. The Nuggets could enter Sunday with much to play for, with the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed still within grasp. The Blazers can still finish as high as No. 5, but their potential fates also lie in the hands of the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Portland has a 19-16 record at the Moda Center this season. They have lost both of their previous matchups against Denver.
Fentress’ piece also discusses some of the happenings of Thursday’s loss, including Portland’s thoughts on the officiating and their failed late-game execution.