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Blazers’ Damian Lillard reacts to possibility of season jumping straight to the playoffs

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Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard is still holding out hope that the league could return in time to offer him an opportunity to lead his team into the postseason, especially if the extended layoff allows bigs Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins to return from long-term injuries.

“I think it’s only right to play it out,” Lillard told TNT’s Ernie Johnson on Wednesday. “Not only are we the ninth seed, we have one of the easier schedules in our final 15, 16 games and the team in the eighth spot has the toughest. We’re looking at that like how can you just go straight into the playoffs when we’re in the position that we’re in and they’re up against what they’re up against?”

The NBA is weighing all options for how to resume its 2019-20 season if and when public health experts deem it safe to do so, with one possibility being foregoing the final 20-ish games of the regular season and jumping directly into the playoffs.

That scenario would mark an official end to the Blazers (29-37) disappointing year, as last year’s Western Conference finalists currently trail the Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) by 3.5 games for the final seed in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Dame did his best to carry Portland throughout an injury-plagued campaign, averaging a career-high 28.9 points and 7.8 assists per game on .457/.394/.888 shooting splits.

Lillard also acknowledged that without adequate training time to prep for a return to hoops, “there could be a lot of bad basketball” if the league returns after a few months off.

Check out Dame and Ernie’s full discussion below: