DAMIAN Lillard’s lighthearted comment has become a serious threat as the Portland Trail Blazers star is confident his eighth-seed team can finish off the West’s top squad Golden State Warriors in their first-round matchup in the NBA Playoffs.
On Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time), Lillard was asked what his prediction was in the series against the Warriors by Blazers local TV partner CSN Northwest. The two-time All-Star playfully responded Portland will take down Golden State in six, which caused a stir on social media.
Lillard, though, was a little more serious in insisting his prediction to ESPN on Thursday.
“I was asked in six or seven [games], and I said six. It was a lighthearted exchange. But with that said, I do believe we can win the series.”
Portland has not won a game against Golden State all season, losing by an average of 19.5 points. But all games were played before the Blazers turned things around after the All-Star break. Lillard and company have the second-best record (17-6) in the league since March 1, and only got tougher with midseason acquisition Jusuf Nurkic.
It’s this momentum that has made Lillard more confident the Blazers can take on anyone, including the league-leading Warriors.
“I have a lot of respect for the Warriors,” he said, “We’re playing our best basketball right now and that has given us a lot of confidence.”
Game 1 is on Sunday at Oracle Arena.