Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard says it would be nice to be able to rest a few games during the regular season next year so he's not worn out when the playoffs start.
Lillard says he's not going to come in and tell the Blazers he's not playing in a game, but that reducing his load and minutes during the regular season could pay off once the postseason begins:
Lillard played in 80 games during the regular season and averaged 35.5 minutes per game. The Blazers star played roughly 40 minutes per game in the 2019 playoffs. Portland got swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Lillard was playing through a rib injury and just looked exhausted in the series:
Most minutes this season (playoffs included)
Damian Lillard 3,488
James Harden 3,291
Tobias Harris 3,290
K. Thompson 3,282
P.J. Tucker 3,228
More on Damian Lillard's season and what's next:https://t.co/GF06sYegF5
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 21, 2019
It was another banner year for Lillard, though. He averaged 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists in the regular season. The Blazers made the conference finals for the first time since 2000. Lillard's game-winning 3-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round is still the talk of the 2019 playoffs. Lillard and the Blazers should be proud of the season they just had.
It's clear, though, the Blazers need another dynamic scorer next to Lillard and guard CJ McCollum. Portland relies too much on Dame and CJ, and it's easy for defenses to game plan against the Blazers in the postseason when the game slows down.