Ahead of Team USA's dominant performance against Iran Wednesday, Warriors star Draymond Green had some timely advice for Trail Blazers six-time All-Star and first-time Olympian Damian Lillard.
The U.S. defeated Iran, 120-66 as Lillard led the way with 21 points. Lillard got off to a good start with his typical Dame range threes. He finished the game with seven three-pointers.
Team USA lost their opening game to France, 83-76, but they got in a rhythm and picked a huge bounce-back win Wednesday. It sounds like Team USA has Draymond Green to thank for Lillard’s assertiveness on the offensive end.
In a recent article from Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Lillard explained that it was Green who took him aside before Wednesday’s contest.
After the loss to France when Lillard didn’t take over in crunch time like Rip City has become accustomed to, Lillard was disappointed with himself.
He passed up a late shot in the eventual loss on Sunday.
Instead of it turning into ‘Lillard Time’ late in the game, the Blazers point guard went with the extra pass, but that led to a turnover and to France’s go-ahead bucket.
Hence, why Green stepped in.
“He was just like, ‘that’s not what you do. Like, you knock those types of shots down, and that’s what we needed you to do at that moment.’ You passing up opportunities like that doesn’t serve this team well,’” Lillard said of his conversation with Green. “We spoke about it and it was simple. I just said ‘I should have shot it and it won’t happen again. I’m gonna come correct going forward.”
A win for Team USA this Saturday against the Czech Republic would give them a berth into the medal round next week and as Lillard put it – “it’s time to start looking like Team USA.”
“Regardless of the team we play against, if we play that brand… that brand of basketball will stand up against any team. It’s time to start looking like Team USA.”