The Portland Trail Blazers won 10 of their last 12 games to clinch the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
In the process, they leap-frogged the Los Angeles Lakers and ensured that they wouldn’t have to participate in the play-in game.
While the team’s late season run was impressive, it’s hard not to remember that they went on a similar hot streak at the end of last year – only for it to not mean much of anything. They still flamed out in the first round, and the following season there was no real improvement to speak of.
This week, Blazers star Damian Lillard admitted that changes might be ahead if his squad doesn’t make some noise in the playoffs.
“I mean, I see every year when we get to this point as pivotal,” Lillard told Jason Quick of The Athletic. “Because at every point, it’s an evaluation: Where do we go from here? Like, can we get the job done as we are? And if not, where do we go from here? What is the change that needs to be made? That’s just what it is.
“And I don’t know where that change comes from, you know, maybe we … I don’t know if it’s moving players, I don’t know if it’s a coaching change … whatever it is that happens in the NBA, the changes that are made when you look at the postseason and what you consider success and failure, and things like that, and what changes you have to make to improve or give yourself a better chance.
“I think we’ve done a lot, and I think every year we get to this point and it’s like ‘What is it that will get us to where we want to be?’
“But I don’t think there is more (pressure). I just think we are further along the way, you know? This ain’t year five. Year five it’s like, ‘All right, it’s been five years …’ It’s been nine now. So I think that’s why it feels like more (pressure), but I don’t think it’s any different than it has been the last two or three years. I just think because we are further along the way it feels that way.”
That’s one way to watch a game. https://t.co/rlfZSR4DDe
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 13, 2021
Lillard is one of the realest guys in the league. He always keeps it 100.
Will Lillard’s prediction for the Blazers ultimately come to fruition? Time will tell.