For the second year in a row, Damian Lillard and the Blazers were sent packing by Golden State.
Lillard isn’t satisfied with just making it to the first round of the postseason, and refuses to characterize the year as a success.
Damian Lillard tells ESPN beating Warriors has become an obsession; Kevin Durant gives take on what Blazers need. https://t.co/wYS4QOn4BU
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 25, 2017
The 26-year-old finished with 34 points and six assists in the 128-103 Game 4 loss Monday night, and says Portland has to become “obsessed” with taking down the Warriors:
“I wouldn’t say it was a successful year,” Lillard told ESPN. “We got tested and I think we answered the bell. I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn’t say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us.”
“You also got to understand that if you ever want to get out the West, you’re going to have to go through them,” Lillard said during his media address. “And for me, I understand that’s what it is. It’s always been that way in the NBA. I think about when the Pistons were just beating up on [Michael] Jordan. [They] were just kicking his butt every year, and he had to get through them if he wanted to get to where he wanted to get to. That’s just what it is. [The Warriors are] going to be there. They’re going to be there every year. We have to look at that and understand that we got to be better. We have to go get better, and come back better as a group if we want to move past them.”
Kevin Durant loves Lillard’s competitive spirit. He told ESPN that the Trail Blazers are a few pieces away from contending.
“I think they want somebody on the wing that can take the pressure off those two guards (C.J. McCollum and Lillard), somebody that’s big for their position. But they’re right there, man. They’re a good team. They started off slow. I think they should have been a higher seed, but they fought their way to get in the playoffs. They have a future center in [Jusuf] Nurkic who took them over the top, but I think they need another ball handler on the wing to get them going. It’s going to be fun playing against these guys in the next few years.”