It wasn't Game 5 against the Thunder. In Damian Lillard's first career Game 7, the Portland Trail Blazers star guard scored 13 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.
But the Blazers, thanks to CJ McCollum's 37-point outburst, kicked the Nuggets to the curb, 100-96.
Up next: A Western Conference finals battle with the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors.
Even if the Warriors are without Kevin Durant -- who missed Game 6 of the NBA playoff second-round series with the Rockets because of a calf strain -- the Blazers appear to be outgunned in their first conference finals appearance since 2000. After all, how many advantages does Portland have in the individual matchups? Probably not many.
But despite the Warriors' talent edge, Lillard is confident in the Blazers' ability to slay the dragon.
Following the Game 7 win over the Nuggets, a Pepsi Center ball boy was offering Dame some encouragement before his battle with the Dubs.
"They're due," Lillard said, via ESPN. "They're due."
However, Lillard later denied this claim, telling reporters Monday afternoon that his quote was taken out of context.
At the first media availability for the Western Conference Finals, @Dame_Lillard states emphatically that he did not say the Warriors “are due.”— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) May 13, 2019
"I was disappointed by that just because you don't try to ear hustle and then quote me as saying something that I didn't say, especially when you're standing right next to me and you could have just asked me." -- @Dame_Lillard— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) May 13, 2019
Due, the Warriors might be. But are the Blazers, without Jusuf Nurkic and perhaps Rodney Hood, the team to take them down? It seems unlikely.
In order for Portland to have a chance at dethroning Golden State, Lillard and McCollum will have to outplay Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and even that might not be enough.
The Blazers face an uphill battle starting Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, but that's nothing new for a Portland squad that was counted out the minute Nurkic went down with a grisly leg injury.
After Lillard sent Russell Westbrook and the Thunder packing in Round 1, McCollum dealt the kill shot to the Nuggets on Sunday in Denver. Now, the Blazers face an unenviable but unavoidable task of trying to oust the Warriors.
Best of luck.