Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers shocked everyone last season by reaching the second round of the Playoffs last season, and Dame thinks his squad can go even further this season.

Lillard says it’s “possible” for Portland to challenge for the Western Conference crown in 2016-17.

Lillard balks at the suggestion that beating the favored (and, ultimately, short-handed) LA Clippers in the first round of the Playoffs was any type of fluke.

Per ESPN:

Before we get to Damian Lillard’s expectations for his Portland Trail Blazers this season, we need his reflection on his hopes for last year’s team, the one everyone thought was headed to lotteryville after losing LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez. […] “Make the playoffs,” Lillard said. “Last year I said we were going to make the playoffs, and we did that.”

 

“This year I want to get to the Western Conference finals and give ourselves a chance to get to the [NBA] Finals,” Lillard said. “I think it’s possible.”

 

He notes the Clippers were at full strength when the Trail Blazers beat them in Game 3, and Portland had the lead when (Chris) Paul and (Blake) Griffin went down in Game 4. And speaking of having the lead, did you know that after the Warriors controlled Game 1 of the second round, the Blazers held the lead for 137 minutes to the Warriors’ 61 minutes the rest of the series? They just couldn’t close out games the way the Warriors did. […] “We could’ve easily laid down, even against Golden State,” Lillard said. “We could’ve said: ‘All right, we got out of the first round … this [Warriors] team lost nine games.’ We could have laid down, but we didn’t.”

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