Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard on Trail Blazers' chances Sunday in SF: 'It's gonna be harder'

Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers get their first shot of the season at playing the same team in consecutive games on the road Sunday night in San Francisco.

After thrashing the Golden State Warriors 123-98 Friday night, Portland faces the task of coming back on one day’s rest and doing it again. If it happens, the Blazers would return from their first road trip of the season with a 3-1 record in California.

But it won’t be easy. Conventional wisdom in the league has always been that it’s difficult to beat the same team twice in a row.  But in the past, those regular-season games have almost always featured a change of venue for the games -- with each team getting a home game.

But the condensed and safer (less travel in the COVID-19 era) schedule this season sometimes means getting two games played on the same visit to a city.

So will the Blazers be at a disadvantage in the next game?

The Warriors had a dismal shooting night from three-point range Friday, making just 7 of their 35 shots from distance -- 20 percent. Portland, meanwhile, went 20-43.

 

It would be pretty hard to believe those percentages would hold up through another game. Larger sample sizes tend to change that.

“It's hard to beat a team two in a row,” Damian Lillard said after the Friday game. “Especially, we had a good game tonight and it’s hard to come back and repeat a really good game against NBA teams, the way we did tonight. So, I would say it's gonna be harder for us.”

The only time in recent years that NBA teams have faced this situation is in the playoffs, where it happens in each series.

“You know,” Lillard said, “We’ve got to have that mentality like it's a playoff series. We’ve got to treat it like a playoff series and come back in here and get another one on Sunday.”

CJ McCollum sounds as if he’s going to make the most of the weekend -- turn it into a bit of a quiet rest stop away from home.

“I'm happy to stay in the city,” he said. “It’s nice for me. I enjoy my room. I enjoy Netflix. I have candles in my room,  my music. I can FaceTime. It’s cool. I'm a loner, by nature.

"We can kind of get together and socially distance in our ballroom like we did last night and hang out and watch games on league pass, so it's just the same thing I would be doing at home. I'm just not at home with my wife and my dog.”