Warriors star Draymond Green thinks Blazers’ Damian Lillard is ‘special’
The Portland Trail Blazers wound up getting swept for a third straight postseason, but franchise star Damian Lillard has nothing to hang his head about. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green saw Lillard battle through each of the four games, trying to solve a puzzle that the defending champions tried to build with hopes of getting through the series without Kevin Durant.
Lillard struggled with his shot as he fought through a rib injury, but made plenty of other contributions that gave the Blazers a chance to win, and none of it falls short of recognition in the eyes of Green:
“Dame is a special player,” Green told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “He just keeps battling. He loves this team and this city, and you respect the fact that he wants to win here and do it his way. He’s an ultimate competitor, and you can tell he’s from Oakland. He’s going to find a way to get it done.”
The Blazers hadn’t reached the Western Conference Finals since losing a heartbreaker against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000, but Lillard knows the experience gained throughout this playoff run will play a huge role moving forward:
“I think one of things we needed was experience and knowing what it’s like to play this far into the season,” he said. “We’ve never been this far in the playoffs, so I think the experience is something you need. And obviously as players, we’ve got to improve. We have to improve as players. We were in some positions where we weren’t able to capitalize. All of us. From top to bottom. We’ve got to improve. And once those situations present itself again, we’ll be able to hold on.”
Lillard is expected to be rewarded for his efforts with a four-year, $191 supermax contract in the summer, one he’ll likely put to good use as he capitalizes on his prime with this recent experience.