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Damian Lillard’s brutally honest admission after ugly loss to Kings

Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

As the fourth quarter clocked ticked toward zeroes, with the Portland Trail Blazers down just three points following a spirited late-game comeback, Damian Lillard dribbled the ball up the floor, crossed over between his legs and stepped back for a 30-footer. But one of his worst shooting nights ended the way it had transpired from the opening tip, Lillard’s would-be game-tying triple falling just short and spinning around the rim, sealing a victory for the Sacramento Kings.

Lillard missed all nine of his three-point attempts in the season-opener, just the second time in his career he’s erred on that many triples without making one. Anyone expecting him to hang his head too low for too long, though, doesn’t understand the unwavering confidence the Blazers’ franchise player has in himself—not to mention the “make or miss” nature of jump-shooting.

“You make ’em, and you miss ’em,” Lillard said Wednesday night. “I think there’s a lot of power in being able to live with the success of it and the failure of it, and tonight was no different.”

Like every Portland fan frustrated by the tenor of Wednesday’s game, Lillard also allowed himself to wonder what could’ve been different had he made just one or two of the looks he normally knocks down with ease. But contrary to his early days in the NBA, Lillard, now in his tenth season, has learned to not dwell on the recent past.

“When I was younger, I would be really bothered by it—it would stick with me longer,” he said. “Now I’ve played enough games to where it’s like, move on to the next one.”

The “next one” for Portland comes on Saturday when the reigning Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns come to Moda Center. Needless to say, don’t be surprised if Lillard’s stoicism and the law of averages spark the type of shooting display we’ve come to expect from one of the league’s most flammable scorers.