The Trail Blazers had Friday off after playing every other day (with two back-to-backs mixed in) since the Blazers first road trip started back on October 25th.
On Saturday, it was back to work as Portland gets set to wrap up its six-game homestand with a tough test vs. the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard spoke with the media on Saturday about how having two days in between games is not necessarily a positive thing for himself and the team:
“We’ve been playing a lot of basketball. Me and CJ was talking about it, I usually feel better when there’s like one day in between games... We had nothing yesterday, came in today and I was like I felt it more having a day off then when we don’t have a day off. It’s kind of the effect when the summer comes. When the season is over like you finally start to feel everything-- your shoulder hurts, your back hurts, your ankle hurt, like man, I didn’t feel this two days ago when we had to play and that’s cause you know you had to play, so it’s one of those things,” Lillard said.
Saturday’s practice for the Blazers was about preparing to guard Boston’s sets and becoming more familiar with the Celtics’ tendencies. The Blazers also went through some shooting drills and played in their half court set.
When Boston visits Portland on Sunday, it will be the Celtics final contest on its current five-game west coast trip. The Cs are currently 1-3 on this trip after Friday’s comeback against the Jazz fell short. Boston is now 4-4 on the road this season.
And, Lillard knows that you can never let your foot of the gas when you’re going up against this Boston team.
“They’re never out of a game. You know you see them comeback against Phoenix, being down 20 and then last night against a really good Utah team in Utah they came back again without Kyrie. I think we just gotta be on point. It’s gonna be a 48-minute game. Understand that every guy is in attack mode, every guy is aggressive, looking for his shot… They’ve been leaning on their defense. They’re a tough team to deal with on the defensive end so we’re going to have our hands full,” Lillard said.
The big news around the NBA early Saturday was that the Jimmy Butler trade finally happened. As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves and 76ers agreed to a deal that sends Butler and Justin Patton to Philadelphia for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, along with guard Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick.
Minnesota has agreed to a deal to send Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia for a package that includes Robert Covington and Dario Saric, league sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 10, 2018
Lillard had this to say about the trade:
“I think that’s a great trade for Minnesota. I like Dario Saric a lot and I like Robert Covington too- he’s a ‘3 and D’ dude, got a lot of skills, he’s been there for the bad and the good for Philly. You know he’s grown a lot. I remember he was in Houston when we played them in the playoffs that one year. So I think that’s a really, really good trade for Minnesota. And obviously Philly, they got a ‘Big 3’ over there now so I think it was a good trade,” Lillard said.
When Dame was asked if it’s nice to see Butler move from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference, Lillard had a simple answer:
“We focused on ourselves now,” Lillard said.