Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were “embarrassed” in the playoffs last season, going down in a sweep to the lower-seeded New Orleans Pelicans.
“The worst has already happened,” Lillard says of Portland.
Dame is ready to resume hostilities with Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder in the first round of the postseason.
Per The Athletic:
“We are the team that went through what we went through last year, everybody else just witnessed it,” Lillard said. “Y’all didn’t have to lose. We had to lose. We got embarrassed, y’all didn’t get embarrassed. Everybody else didn’t go through what we went through. We experienced it.”
And they carried it with them. Silently, but deliberately. As Lillard pointed out, this wasn’t an angry team this season, it wasn’t a pressured team, despite all the outside noise. It was a team that stayed true to themselves and stuck to the course, waiting for this moment. Now that it’s here, in the form of a best-of-seven series with Oklahoma City, it’s time to heal the wound.
“The worst has already happened,” Lillard said. “It’s like, I got beat up at school already. We went through the hard part, took our loss, had our embarrassment. Now, there’s not as much worry, or concern there. It kind of takes that away. We’ve seen it now.
“We aren’t going to go in there timid, like, ‘what if this happens?’ It’s happened already. I don’t know … we are just more strong about it.”