Damian Lillard after Blazers' elimination: Trying to defeat the Warriors became an obsession

PORTLAND, Ore. -- After the Portland Trail Blazers were swept by the Golden State Warriors on Monday, point guard Damian Lillard told ESPN he's developed a newfound obsession with trying to take down the Warriors.

"You have to be obsessed with that because you know that they're so good that they're going to be there," Lillard said after a 128-103 loss in Game 4. "That's who you're going to have to get through to get to where you want to get to. That's what it is."

Lillard recorded 34 points and six assists in 41 minutes on Monday and was 12-of-24 from the field. The rest of his team shot 21-for-61, equating to 34 percent.

The Trail Blazers squeezed into the final playoff spot (41-41) after a disappointing start to the season. They were expected to take the next step after a 44-38 record during the 2015-16 season.

The two-time All-Star is proud of the team's push down the stretch of the regular season, but he said he's not satisfied.

"I wouldn't say it was a successful year," Lillard told ESPN. "We got tested, and I think we answered the bell. I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn't say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us."

In last year's playoffs, the Warriors bounced the Trail Blazers out of the second round in five games.

Lillard's anger was evident after Monday's lopsided loss. "I don't even know what to think right now," he said. "It's very frustrating. But you know me: I'm going to come back stronger than ever."

When addressing the media, Lillard spoke highly about how well the Warriors play together and how everyone is on the same wavelength. He has realized that the Trail Blazers must take a page out of the Warriors' book.

"You also got to understand that if you ever want to get out of the West, you're going to have to go through them," Lillard said during his media address. "And for me, I understand that's what it is. It's always been that way in the NBA. I think about when the Pistons were just beating up on [Michael] Jordan. [They] were just kicking his butt every year, and he had to get through them if he wanted to get to where he wanted to get to. That's just what it is. [The Warriors are] going to be there. They're going to be there every year. We have to look at that and understand that we got to be better. We have to go get better,and come back better as a group if we want to move past them."

Kevin Durant loves Lillard's competitive spirit. He told ESPN that the Trail Blazers are a few pieces from contending.

"I think they want somebody on the wing that can take the pressure off those two guards [C.J. McCollum and Lillard], somebody that's big for their position. But they're right there, man. They're a good team. They started off slow. I think they should have been a higher seed, but they fought their way to get in the playoffs. They have a future center in [Jusuf] Nurkic who took them over the top, but I think they need another ball handler on the wing to get them going. It's going to be fun playing against these guys in the next few years."

This is the second straight season the Warriors have eliminated Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers in the playoffs after Golden State defeated the Blazers 4-1 in the second round in 2016. AP Photo/Steve Dykes



Trail Blazers share hilarious live tweets while they're getting blown out by Warriors

Ending the season on a sour note is never easy, but who ever said a team couldn't have some fun with it?

During the Portland Trail Blazers' Game 4 and season-ending loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, the team's social media department produced a hilarious stream of live tweets as the squad was getting swept by the superior Warriors.

It started early as Golden State jumped out to a 22-3 lead and went into halftime with a 24-point advantage.


Warriors invite Baron Davis, others from ‘We Believe’ team to second-round game

Four players key to the “We Believe” Warriors of 2007 are being brought back to Oracle Arena for Golden State fans to celebrate.

Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington have reportedly been invited to attend a playoff game and get a 10-year anniversary ovation. Those “We Believe” Warriors will be at a second-round game, as reported first by KNBR’s Murph & Mac.

Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington have reportedly been invited to attend a playoff game and get a 10-year anniversary ovation. Those “We Believe” Warriors will be at a second-round game, as reported first by KNBR’s Murph & Mac.

“That is unbelievable,” Jackson said on KNBR, reacting to the news. “I just got that text message too and I couldn’t reply quick enough. I can’t wait to be there, to be in that playoff atmosphere. It was some special time. I think the Bay is still rockin’ from when we played there, and for them to honor us 10 years later … it’s exciting. It’s going to be good to have all the guys back together in that arena.”

Those four will be joined by Matt Barnes, who was on the 2007 team that bounced the No. 1-seeded Mavericks from the first round of the playoffs — and is on the Warriors again.

“With Matt being on the team, we feel like we’re playing right now,” Jackson said. “I hope they get a championship, because if Matt is able to get a championship with this team, it feels like we all won.”

Warriors ownership has changed since 2007, but Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber reportedly reached out to the Davis, Richardson, Jackson and Harrington.

Jackson waxed poetic about the 2007 season and playoff victory.

“It was the birth of something. It was the birth of small ball,” Jackson said on KNBR. “To this day, that ‘We Believe’ team taught the fans in Oakland how to believe and how to believe anything can be done. Well now, these guys took what we done and just took it to another level. We definitely started it. We got this city rockin’ — we got that attitude of not giving up and believing in each other. It was just special. But these kids now — KD, Steph, Klay, Draymond, Shaun Livingston — these guys are just taking it to another level.”

Four former Golden State stars will be visitors to that level in the second round.

(Anyone who needs reminding of the “We Believe” Warriors would do well to check out this column by Marcus Thompson II about that era. That, and harken back to when columnist Tim Kawakami asked in a blog post, “How in the hell did the GSWs do this?”)

By the way, at least two of the four “We Believe” players are involved in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league.

Here’s a guess as to whether each player — sans Stak5, who’s clearly in — will say yes to Golden State’s ticket/reunion proposal…

Baron Davis

Davis’ decision to leave for the Clippers in 2008, he said at the time, was about moving to his hometown of Los Angeles — so an acceptance to 10-year affair could be in the cards.

During his three seasons with the Warriors, including the 2006-07 season, Davis averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals (almost more like Draymond Green than Stephen Jackson, who claims he’s more the Money Green of that generation). The point guard played as recently as 2012, when he suited up 29 times for the Knicks, after leaving Golden State for the division rival Clippers nine years ago

It’s easy to wonder if Davis, who was The Beard before James Harden took the mantel, will play in BIG3 this summer. Could he be “Player X” listed on this press release from the league? If so, he’d be playing alongside Brian Scalabrine and coached by Warriors legend Rick Barry.

Jason Richardson

Despite being traded in 2007, it seems like J-Rich would accept a reported invite since he recently thanked for the Warriors for happy birthday wishes.

Richardson spent six seasons with the Dubs, who took him fifth out of Michigan State (like Draymond) in the 2001 draft, and averaged 18.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game until a 2007 trade to Charlotte.

After getting jettisoned by Golden State — as part of a 2007 trade for Brandan Wright, who was later swapped for the draft pick that netted Draymond Green — Richardson stayed in the NBA until 2015. That said, he told Marcus Thompson II, “I wish we coulda had that team together for one more year.”

He is actually fully signed up for BIG3, paired with co-captain and former Pistons star Chauncey Billups as well as player-coach Charles Oakley, the estranged Knicks legend. What a combo.

Al Harrington

The parties parted peacefully, so it wouldn’t be wrong to venture a guess that Harrington will say yes. He did, after all, call for more pick and rolls involving Stephen Curry on Twitter recently.

Baby Al arrived as part of the trade for Jackson in early 2007 and left 20 months later in a swap for Jamal Crawford. Harrington had publicly asked for a trade and was sent to the Knicks in a reunion with former Pacers president Donnie Walsh, so he was happy with the move. So why would he hold it against Lacob, Gruber and the guys?

Harrington averaged 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 139 games with the Warriors, 11 of which were in the playoffs. Those numbers about match his 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game over a 16-year career.

He’s set to play with ex-Nets and Nuggets star Kenyon Martin, plus be coached by Rick Mahorn, in BIG3.

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