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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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Playoffs bring out war of words between Blazers, Warriors

Both sides talk a good game as series reaches Game 4

By , Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published:

TUALATIN, Ore. — A left-handed free-throw contest with Chris Kaman was the only little game that Damian Lillard would talk about with a smile Sunday morning.

When pressed about the other little games going on in this series against the Golden State Warriors, he shook his head before coming right back at Draymond Green like he’s pulling up in transition.

Lillard and his buddy CJ McCollum are tit-for-tat with the NBA’s king of trash talk.

Stephen Curry is officially doubtful to play in Monday’s Game 4 and the Warriors lead the series 2-1 after Portland’s 120-108 home win Saturday.

But despite the MVP waiting in the wings, Green, Lillard and McCollum are giving the NBA playoffs a much-needed dose of professional wrestling flair.

Green lamented that he didn’t play his game, playing down his great numbers, before questioning the mental fortitude of the Blazers.

“They had doubt in the first quarter,” Green said.

Green is no dummy. Maybe he saw Game 6 of the Clippers series when the Blazers handed out the shirts to all fans that said “Never Doubt.”

Or perhaps he saw the two brand new Adidas billboards in Portland featuring Lillard’s face with those two words: “Never Doubt,” with the “doubt” being more than double in size.

“I don’t know what type of mind games he’s playing, but we don’t play games over here,” Lillard said. “There was never any doubt in our minds but maybe he had to tell himself whatever he needed to tell himself. There was never any doubt. There’s never doubt when you beat a championship team. If that’s what he has to tell himself that’s perfectly fine.”

After Game 3, McCollum said he will welcome Green to shoot 3-pointers.

“I would rather Draymond shoot than Klay Thompson,” he said as a matter of fact.

On the same night, Green could only describe the intense disappointment in himself and his team, while giving Portland credit for their “desperation” and little else.

Are you not entertained?

As the Blazers returned to practice, they carried on as one would expect after a team gets on the board in a series.

Lillard and Kaman went round after round in a left-handed shooting contest (which Kaman won) after their film session.

“I thought he was going to be a little weaker than he turned out to be,” Lillard said. “He shoot it almost as good lefty as he does right handed.”

Al-Farouq Aminu talked about the vegan red velvet cake he bought for his wife, celebrating her first mother’s day.

Maurice Harkless, however, wasn’t feeling as good as his teammates.

The Blazers have listed Harkless as probable to play with a bruised right hip.

Portland had success without Harkless, which has led to more questions about whether head coach Terry Stotts would stick with Harkless in the starting lineup, especially if Harkless is limited by injury.

Stotts declined to answer any questions about lineups, as is standard Stotts-ian procedure.

Portland still laments their Game 2 loss, but they have quite the opportunity on their hands.

“We really challenged them, we had control of the game for a lot of that game (Game 2),” Lillard said. “We know we’re capable of getting it done but you know it would be great for us to take care of home and go back there with it tied up.”

While Curry’s status moving forward remains up in the air, Portland’s belief seems to be growing even as they look to give the Warriors their first back-to-back losses of the 2015-16 season.

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer