Damian Lillard sat down with Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes discussing his approach since the NBA restart.
Lillard is no stranger when it comes to having the mamba mentality and history of clutch shots to win close games. The race for the eighth seed is closer than anyone anticipated and Lillard mentioned how he’s been able to come in the bubble on a mission.
There’s always doubters, critics, and those who aren’t really superstars that want all the smoke. After Lillard missed two free-throws and a game-tying three-point shot in a loss against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, he had some facts for Clippers guard Patrick Beverly.
Lillard was asked about the taunts of Beverly tapping on his risk in reference to “Dame Time” and the sideline antics that come with the trash talk. He didn’t waste any time letting the media know how he felt about the defensive guard.
It’s easy for Beverly to speak when he has a great perimeter defender in George and a two-way 2 time NBA champion in Kawhi Leonard. Beverly is a pest on defense and is well respected by high caliber athletes. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Clippers somehow got eliminated in the first round by the rising Dallas Mavericks. It’s a whole new game and anything can happen.
Lillard is focused and if the Blazers snag the eight seed, this will be the first time since 2002 the Blazers meet the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Realistically when we evaluate who’s in the hunt, the Blazers pose a threat to the LeBron James and the Lakers if they can be efficient offensively and neutralize big man Anthony Davis.
Not many NBA players are as humbled as Lillard who respectfully earned his spot as a top-five point guard in the NBA without question. If he can manage to lead the Blazers to the eight seed and win the last couple of games, the chances are great. Leading Rookie of the year candidate Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have the Boston Celtics and No.1 ranked Milwaukee Bucks on their schedule. Those which will be tough games to win and the young explosive point guard needs to live up to the expectations or he will be sent packing. In the hunt are the Phoenix Suns currently on a six-game win streak lead by Devin Booker. San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich is on the brink of missing the NBA playoffs for the first time in his career since the 1996-1997 season after replacing Bob Hill. It’ll be interesting to see the adjustments he will make since the battle is on.
For Dame Time response, click on the next page and some of the Twitter reactions.