Lillard's life since hitting game winner
TUALATIN -- The Portland Trail Blazers are still reeling off of Friday night’s Game 6 win over the Houston Rockets that propelled them to the second round for the first time in over a decade.
With .9 seconds remaining in the game with Portland down two, Damian Lillard’s game-winning three-pointer proved why he is truly one of the Top 5 point guards in this league.
“It’s still a crazy feeling,” Nicolas Batum said. “That play was incredible. He was calling for the ball with so much confidence. I had to give him the ball and he hit it. That was crazy.”
That series was a matchup of talkers versus doers. It all started when Patrick Beverley called Lillard a whiner during the regular season after their final meeting with one another. Then after Game 1, Chandler Parsons told CSNNW.com that he was the best small forward in this series.
That was after the Rockets were down 0-1. It didn’t stop there, however, when the Rockets proclaimed themselves to being the better team even though they were down 2-3 heading into a game on the road.
“When a guy talks about you in the media, I just didn’t want to go back in the media,” Batum said. “I’m not a talker. My main goal was to win the series. In the playoffs, I’m not worried about who is the best small forward. I want to be the best team. They said they felt they were the best team. We didn’t talk about that. We just showed them. We’re the better team.”
Now with the series over, Batum can look back and reflect on all the mini episodes and conclude that the better team is still playing for a chance to compete for the NBA title.
“His comments didn’t bother me because I know who I am,” he said. “I don’t really compare myself to him but I respect him. But like I said, we were the better team.”
With postseason advancement comes currency advances, too. From adidas, their shoe endorsement partner, Batum and Lillard will receive a bonus for progressing to the semifinal round. Lillard is set to receive a substantial bump. According to a league source, he’ll get a six-figure reward. Turns out that shot he hit was bigger than what we all expected.
Portland moving on up is what we do know. What we don’t know is whom they’ll be playing. The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks are set to lock horns this afternoon in what will be a slugfest of a Game 7 in San Antonio.
Players refused to divulge whom they would rather play. If San Antonio wins, Portland travels to Texas for Game 1 on Tuesday. If Dallas pulls it off on the road, they travel to Oregon for Game 1 on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t matter,” Lillard said. “These are both good teams. We just have to make sure we’re prepared and go into those games and execute. It’s going to be a battle whomever we play. We’ll be ready.”