The 2018–19 NBA season was a season of redemption for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. They were the No. 3 seed in the 2017-18 Western Conference playoffs, and were surprisingly swept by the New Orleans Pelicans, who were missing DeMarcus Cousins, in the first round.
So when the 2018–19 season started, no one expected the Trail Blazers to make a deep run in the playoffs. They defied the odds and made the Western Conference finals, where they fell against the Warriors. Despite that, they had a successful season and are one of the main contenders for the Western Conference throne heading into 2019.
Damian Lillard had some offseason comments to say about going up against the Golden State Warriors. Let’s look at Lillard’s season, the Blazers playoff run, and his comments about the Warriors as we revisit the series showdown.
A terrific season for Damian Lillard and Portland
Portland played like one of the best teams in the West for a majority of the season. Damian Lillard was playing at an All-Star caliber level, and CJ McCollum continued to be one of the best shooters in the NBA.
Jusuf Nurkic was the main force in the middle, but when he went down with a broken leg in February, it put the teams front line in flux. The Trail Blazers finished the season 53-29 and were again the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Series against the Thunder
Russell Westbrook and Lillard have had back-and-forth altercations with each other for years. This series seemed to be the defining moment for Lillard, as Portland easily took care of OKC. In Game 5 of the series, as time was expiring, Lillard sized up MVP candidate Paul George and hit a 38-foot, buzzer-beating, series-clinching 3-pointer to end it.
After making the shot, Lillard walked off the court and waved goodbye to the Thunder, in what was one of the coldest moments we have seen in a playoff game this decade.
Growing up in a seven-game series
After making quick work of the Thunder, Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers against the No. 2 seed Denver Nuggets. They also had a star in the making in point guard Jamal Murray and a center who could rack up triple-doubles with the best of them Nikola Jokic. Portland won in seven games, and a trip to the Finals was on the line against Golden State.
Getting swept by Golden State
The Warriors went into the series with Portland hobbled. Kevin Durant was out with a quad injury, and the Trail Blazers knew Klay Thompson couldn’t guard Lillard and McCollum at the same time.
However, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr executed his game plan perfectly, as the Warriors won the series in a clean sweep. Lillard didn’t get much going in the series, averaging just 22 points per game, with just one game in the series where he shot over 35% from the field.
What Damian Lillard said about the Warriors
Long after getting swept by the Warriors, Lillard spoke on the Joe Budden podcast about the loss. Lillard said:
“We just lost, bruh…I ain’t never seen nobody go on runs like that,” Lillard said. “They put runs together like that. You can do nothing but respect it.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Damian Lillard explained to Budden that the Warriors outplayed them in every aspect of the game, and it seemed to be a culture shock with how dynamic the offense was even without Durant.
What do you think of Lillard’s comments?
Do you agree with Damian Lillard’s comments about the Trail Blazers sweep by the Warriors? There is some truth to his comments in our book, but we think it will just make him hungrier and he could be a candidate for an All-NBA team this upcoming season.