Blazers’ Terry Stotts showed 2 plays that ‘decided the game’ and it’s not Damian Lillard’s logo shot
Damian Lillard made another miraculous shot for the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, draining a half-court heave against the Brooklyn Nets early in the fourth period. However, if you were to ask Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, that amazing 3-pointer was not the most important play of the game that led to Portland securing the crucial, razor-thin victory against Brooklyn, 134-133.
According to Stotts, what counted the most were the hustle plays. This report comes from two highly-reliable sources in Tim Bontemps and Rachel Nichols, who both represent ESPN:
Terry Stotts said he showed two plays to the team after the game: Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic diving on the floor to grab loose balls. "Those were the plays that decided the game," he said.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 14, 2020
Portland’s coaches showed the Blazers two plays in the locker room after the win over the Nets, and neither one was Dame’s half court shot – instead they were clips of Nurkic and Lillard battling on the floor for loose balls.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 14, 2020
This victory was a big one for Portland, as they allowed them to secure the eighth seed in the West. This means that they will have a twice-to-beat advantage against the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in game (or games) scheduled for this weekend. At this point, the Blazers are just one win away from securing a playoff berth, and setting up a matchup against the first-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the West.
Lillard was a man on a mission on Thursday, finishing with 42 points (on 13-of-22 shooting), three rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, and just one turnover in 44 minutes of play. He also got a lot of help from teammates CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, who themselves combined for 47 points.
However, as Stotts and his coaching team emphasized, the plays that led to this crucial win do not show up in the box score. It’s about the Blazers wanting it more, and doing everything they can to bring home the victory — an attitude that they will need to carry moving forward.