Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are heading into the offseason with their heads held high, despite being swept in four games by the Golden State Warriors.
Lillard says his team showed the world “who they are” during their playoff run, which ended after four games in the Western Conference Finals.
Dame, playing through a rib injury since Game 2, finished with 28 points and 12 assists in the 119-117 overtime loss. Meyers Leonard added 30 ponts and 12 assists, and CJ McCollum had 26 points and 7 assists for Portland.
Per The Oregonian:
“In the past, a lot of people … didn’t really believe this was a real possibility,” Lillard said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, they’re going to make the playoffs. They’re going to make some noise. Second round. Blah, blah, blah, blah.’ But now it’s like, ‘OK, this the Western Conference finals.’ I think we’ve shown we’re capable. We can get it done. And I think our route here was as hard as anybody’s. We played the Thunder. Great team. We played Denver. A great team. It wasn’t like we just eased our way in and mistakenly got here. We earned this.
“We showed that this is who we are.”
Lillard has long said he thought the team was poised for greatness, that it had the potential to challenge for NBA Finals berths and compete for championships. And while many scoffed, dismissing his determination as stubborn and silly dreaming, it turns out he was right all along.
And, of course, it all ended with two surreal games from Meyers Leonard, who silenced seven years of doubters by helping the Blazers push the three-time NBA champions until that last-second shot in overtime fell short.
“I’m glad about the fight,” [Rodney] Hood said. “We’re resilient. We just kept fighting. We have a team full of fighters.”