Damian Lillard sure knows how to drop bars.
After the Portland Trail Blazers completed a statement win over the league-leading Utah Jazz on Wednesday, 105-98, Lillard gave a comment that would surely get the entire Rip City charged up (via ESPN).
“It’s what our identity has always been. We put our hard hats on. (We’re) Blue-collar team.”
Lillard was responding to a reporter’s question on how the Trail Blazers managed to finish the regular season strong. Indeed, they have built up momentum heading into the NBA Playoffs with their recent huge wins. As usual, Lillard is at the forefront of the team’s crucial crusade.
The six-time All-Star top-scored for the Trail Blazers against the Jazz with 30 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field. He got plenty of support with CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony chipping in 26 and 18 points, respectively.
But for Lillard, also key factors to their blue-collar bravado and late-season surge are their defense and communication.
“We’ve been defending. We’ve been sharing the ball. We’ve been able to sustain that level of focus and that level of play for longer periods of time. That’s why we’re winning games.”
The Trail Blazers, however, aren’t out of the woods yet. While they have a chance of making the NBA Playoffs outright, they could still find themselves in the dangerous play-in tournament, especially since both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks also won on Wednesday.
But with Damian Lillard oozing with confidence and his unyielding trust in the Trail Blazers, who would want to face them? High stakes? You know what time it is.