With their season increasingly in jeopardy, the Portland Trail Blazers gave up another double-digit lead and fell to the New York Knicks at home on Tuesday, 107-123. We’ve seen this before. Too many times. If nothing changes, we are sure to see it again. Basketball being a game of runs is not enough to explain a 16-point lead turning into a 16-point loss.
That said, after the game, star point guard Damian Lillard was asked about how that happens. Specifically, how the Trail Blazers are able to get off to such impressive starts. Here is what he had to say.
I think sometimes when you come out in the beginning, the game is fresh. The best way to put it is there’s not as much pressure on those opening moments of the game. There’s so much game to go. And then as the game goes on the game tightens up, people sharpen up, adjustments get made. The entire game, both teams are trying to change things up to throw the other team off and I think we’ve just struggled with that, you know, with the changes that happen over the course of the game we’ve had a hard time with it.
I think just having more experience we – a lot of times what you see in NBA games you – you start playing well and it’s important to realize what’s taking place that allows you to play well, that allows things to be in your favor, and I think what you see a lot of times is you just get away from doing that. You start to feel good; it feels easy sometimes. When you are doing all the right things it feels easy and you just kind of go off script. It’s not always intentional, you just fall into the mentality of, like, ‘it’s just happening,’ and you get away from all of the things that you’re doing that are actually hard. You just don’t continue to do it because you think it’s going to continue to go the way it’s going. But with the game changing, teams adjusting, teams tightening up, you got to continue to do those things hard and be disciplined that way, and we just haven’t been able to sustain it.
The Trail Blazers (31-38) now sit at No. 13 in the Western Conference standings, three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Oklahoma City Thunder, who are presently tied (34-35) for seeds 8-10.