Blazers star Damian Lillard says being ‘willing to fail’ is the key to making clutch shots
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has made a reputation as one of the most lethal players during clutch situations. If the game is on the line, expect the All-Star guard to have the ball in his hands and attempt to win the game for his team. He’s often been successful in breaking the hearts of his opponents.
Lillard was recently a guest at the Winging It Podcast, and he gave the key to being successful at making shots during pressure-packed situations.
“I mean I think, just being in those situations, I think part of it is willing to fail. Like being willing to shoulder – or able to shoulder when you miss it or when you tuen it over. When something bad happens in those situations, I think that’s just being able to deal with that makes you more comfortable, you know, when the game is on the line. Because I’m going into it saying “If I miss the shot, if we’re down two and I decided I’m gonna shoot a 3, and I miss it, I can live with whatever they’ve got to say about it.”
And if I make it, I know it ain’t gonna be too much for me, like I ain’t going to be big headed about the situation because – everybody says they train and they do all this stuff, but I know I really do it. I’ve done this stuff over and over and over, so that it just makes it easier to be in those situations.”
Damian Lillard has a winning mentality, and he’s proven that throughout his career. However, Dame also said that he had to learn to approach the playoffs differently.
“The playoffs is just different because – like early in my career, I would just try to shoulder everything, I would try to take over and dominate and score. But now, trying to win, it’s become more clear to me that I’ve got to empower everybody else more. Like I can do my job whether guys are hurt or not, but what else can I get out of the rest of the team? Like how much better can I make the rest of the team? Because then, we’ll go further that way. So I think that’s more of the challenge for me, as opposed to trying to average 50, instead of 25.”
“I think the challenge is just getting more out of the team.”
There is no doubt that Damian Lillard is the face of the Blazers, but he hasn’t been able to get them past the second round of the playoffs. Prior to their win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their first-round series, Portland was coming off 10 straight losses and back-to-back eliminations in the playoffs.
Dame is trying to do everything to help his team win, but now he understands that he has a lot of talent around him and he no longer has to shoulder everything.
The Blazers have the third best record in the West, and they have what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs. As a team, Portland has pieces to help Lillard carry the load on both ends of the floor.
But when it’s Dame Time, you can always count on Lillard to make the shots, and the plays, that matter.