All Damian Lillard wanted was a shot.
Not his ‘layup’ from the logo, but rather a shot at the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers point guard said on his birthday, which happened after the Blazers arrival in the bubble, "Let's not waste our f-ing time."
The NBA restart gave the Portland Trail Blazers eight games to force a play-in for that final spot in the Western Conference playoffs and the Blazers have done just that.
They haven't wasted their time in the bubble.
And after another heart attack finish Thursday night, Rip City is trying to wrap its head around what’s with all these close games? The Blazers have managed to pull out wins and each of the eight games were decided by single digits.
[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Kevin Love].
As much as it is stressful to watch back home, it’s equally as nailbiting on the court in Orlando.
‘Big Z’ Zach Collins joined our Blazers Outsiders crew of Joe Simons and Danny Marang after Portland’s one-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, explaining that these close games will only benefit Portland in the long run.
Frustrating, stressful, annoying, all those things but we put ourselves in a position to win every game here and that’s the thing you got to take away. Every game, we were winning and had to hold onto a lead and there were a lot of games where we weren’t winning and had to fight back into it. You can look at that as a negative or you can look at that’s getting us ready for what playoffs are going to be.
I think when we get this next win and when we get to the playoffs, I think we’re going to look back and appreciate the grind that these eight games were. — Zach Collins
It has been a grind indeed. Nothing has come easy for the Trail Blazers during this restart. Portland has had to claw its way through third quarter slump after third quarter slump; CJ McCollum is battling through a fracture in his back; Dame is averaging nearly 40 minutes per game; it is exhausting.
Lillard said it clearly after the game on Thursday: ‘I’m tired.”https://twitter.com/NBCSNorthwest/status/1294140883764355072
But the benefit to games like these are they feel a lot like playoff games and playoff games are often played down to the wire. Should the Trail Blazers win on Saturday and advance to the playoffs, they have that added experience of winning in tight games.
We’re obviously just very happy that the eight games are behind us and now we just got to win one more to get there. — Zach Collins
Game 1: Saturday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m. PT
Game 2 (if necessary): Sunday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m. PT
The winner of the play-in gets the reward, if it can be called that, of playing the No.1 Los Angeles Lakers.