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Lillard assures all he won’t miss a game

Blazers guard injured back on Thursday vs. Heat

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: January 9, 2015, 4:00pm

TUALATIN, Ore. — Damian Lillard gingerly walked to out to the practice court after receiving treatment on his lower back.

He said that the collision with Miami’s Dwyane Wade was stronger than it looked on the replay.

He was sore Friday but expects to play Saturday against the Orlando Magic.

“It didn’t look like we hit as hard as we actually did,” he said. “I think it was when my body twisted so fast. My lower back locked up little bit. Then when I hit the ground I think that’s pretty much what it was.”

Lillard is a tough guy. But being caught from the blindside is what he thinks caused more damage.

“I didn’t even see (Wade),” Lillard said. “My head was turned and I think because I couldn’t see him I couldn’t control my body. That’s what made it so bad.”

After using heat treatment at halftime to play in Thursday’s second half, Lillard didn’t do any basketball related activities Friday. He said he did mobility treatment in the pool.

“I’m not going to miss the game,” he assured reporters.

Lillard was also part of a new adidas commercial 45 years of their “Superstar” shoe as his profile continues to grow outside of the Northwest. In the ad, Lillard was joined by music stars Pharell Williams and Rita Ora as well as retired soccer superstar David Beckham.

“They chose me for basketball, I was happy to be a part of it,” Lillard said. “It’s a global commercial. A global thing. That was big.”

Wesley Matthews played his first game with a big knee brace Thursday after hyperextending his left knee and he was pretty honest about his feelings playing with it.

“It sucks,” he said. “I notice it. (It is) definitely uncomfortable, somewhat painful. I’ll get used to it for the short time that I have to use it. I don’t see it on too much longer though.”

The Blazers didn’t do much today ahead of a weekend back-to-back and Matthews only did some light shooting. But he did make his last 10 shots from the right corner.

The Blazers have experienced some issues on the glass in their last two games. Midway through Thursday’s win they were outrebounded by the Heat, who have the league’s worst total rebound rate according to NBA.com.

But in the second half the Blazers picked it up. Head coach Terry Stotts says the Blazers need a team rebounding effort like they got Thursday where they had four players with nine rebounds or more.

“It’s important,” Stotts said of the rebounds. “For us to be a good defensive team you have to be a good defensive (rebounding team). Our offensive rebounding has dipped a little with Robin (Lopez) and Joel (Freeland) out.”

Nicolas Batum said it wasn’t about anything technical the Blazers weren’t doing.

“That’s aggression,” Batum said. “We let them get offensive rebounds, second chance points.”

The defense sparked their offense.

“We played at their pace in the first half,” Batum said. “Second half, we approach the game, we get rebound and then we start running.”

Columbian Trail Blazers Writer