As Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard put it, it’s now do or die time for the Blazers.
While facing elimination in Game 6 Thursday night in Portland, the Blazers have their backs against the wall, which is when they’ve had a lot of success.
There’s no doubt about that.
But now after watching game film of Tuesday’s 147-140 double-overtime loss, head coach Terry Stotts says he was proud of the way his team fought back after their slow start.
“I would say that [the Nuggets] probably played a little bit harder than we did,” Stotts said. “They were a little bit more aggressive. They went after balls and to their credit they built a lead, but to our credit, it was a three-point game at halftime.”
After getting into a 22-point hole, the Blazers fought back.
That’s what they do.
They’ve done it all season.
But Coach Stotts knows the importance of starting out strong in an elimination game.
And it starts on the defensive end.
“We need to do what we did in Game 4 in particular, but also in Game 3 – we came out at home and we were aggressive, had some very good defensive possessions early, set the tone and that’s what we need. We need to do it at the defensive end.”
The Nuggets jumped out to a 13-1 lead in Game 5, but they were also the ones coming off a loss and playing in front of their home crowd.
Now it’s the Blazers’ turn to bring the aggressive nature from the jump. And in front of an increased number of fans at Moda Center.
“Obviously it will help us,” Coach Stotts mentioned. “We have great fans. Moda Center is a great place to play when there are fans in the building. It’s an obvious positive for us.”
Portland and Denver tip-off Game 6 at 5:00p.m. PT Thursday on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.