3 Reasons why Damian Lillard’s game-winning shot over OKC is pointless
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers have defeated the OKC Thunder in just five games, and the hype train is gaining speed. Before you Blazers fans get your hopes up too high, we want to run through three quick reasons as to why this buzzer-beater might not be as significant as Portland fans think it is.
- History tells us this…
As Damian Lillard’s game-winning shot went in against OKC on Tuesday night, many spectators felt a feeling of familiarity. It’s like Lillard had done this before… and that is because he has. In 2014, Lillard hit a similar shot to knock the Rockets out of the playoffs. Much like this year, the hype was beginning to build around Portland.
In 2014, the Blazers and their momentum went on to matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, and would end up losing the series to San Antonio in five games. In fact, Damian Lillard has never reached the conference finals in his career. Up next for the Blazers will likely be the Denver Nuggets, a much more dynamic test that the OKC Thunder. We will have to see if this is the year that the Blazers are able to defy history.
- Wild Western Conference
Portland is a good team with one superstar and a cast of good roles players. If Lilliard can give Portland 30+ points each night, then they will be in some games; But if he doesn’t show out, this Blazers team will have some issues. The problem for Portland is that unlike the playoffs in the East, there is simply no time for “off” games, especially deeper in the playoffs. It will take some big performances from other players not named Damian Lillard if the Blazers are going to make a significant run in this year’s playoffs.
- Focus is too small in Portland
As the dust settles in what was an exciting five game series between Portland and OKC, it is clear to see how much Portland put into this series. Damian Lillard and the team celebrated their Game 5 win in the first round of the playoffs like they had put themselves in position to win a title. Blazers coach Terry Stotts looked a relieved man in his postgame press conference. Slotts even took time to poke fun at Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, as he copied Westbrook’s responses to questions word for word in some cases. The celebratory mood was one that is not indicative of a team who has only reached the second round of the playoffs. Unfortunately for Blazer fans, it seems as if the focus in Portland is not down the road in the playoffs, but instead on success in the first round. Contending teams like the Bucks and Raptors took care of business like a team who are looking towards bigger and better, while Portland looked like they had reached their season climax.