Damian Lillard has been excellent on defense this postseason. Having seemingly flipped a switch, Lillard has posted a 95 defensive rating in the playoffs, in stark contrast to his regular season mark of 112.
The Portland Trail Blazers haven't hid Lillard, either, with Rip City's favorite son often guarding former MVP Russell Westbrook much of the time.
Portland's overall strategy and energy on defense has fundamentally changed as a team. Seth Curry, Rodney Hood, and Evan Turner are all more active, and it appears Terry Stotts and his staff have given them a mandate: close out hard, stay grounded, and don't bite. In essence, it's OK if anyone outside of Paul George takes a less-than-contested 3-pointer, just as long as no one gets into the paint.
That's been the base for Lillard’s strong start. He's played strong, low, and has moved his feet backward even when that seems counterintuitive. The Blazers PG has looked more confident, and he’s been able to get under the shirt of several Thunder players outside of Westbrook.
The biggest thing Lillard has done, shockingly, is come up with steals, swipes, and blocks in volume we've never seen from him before. That's thanks to a nifty move with his left hand that's made it seem like a trick he's waited to break it out until the postseason.
Watch the video above to see how Lillard's used his new move, plus played "spy" on George as a means to supercharge Portland's defense.