The NBA postseason is fast approaching and while some teams just get in their final tune-ups before the playoffs begin, for others, the eight-seeding games are win-or-go-home.
Such is the case for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland currently sits ninth in the Western Conference, hoping to force a play-in series but with the Spurs, Pelicans, Kings and Suns breathing down their necks. Because of that, every game matters more to the Blazers, who lost to the Boston Celtics on Sunday after nearly completing an incredible comeback.
A turning point came in that game when Lillard, whose play has been exceptional, decided to pass the ball inside instead of going for the game-tying three late in that game. That decision cost Portland a shot at winning the game. On the Jump, host Rachel Nichols asked analysts Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins about the situation and whether or not Dame’s decision was concerning. The Truth said he was surprised, but pointed at it as an opportunity to grow for the still budding Blazers star.
“Man, that was mind-boggling to me because I’m used to Dame getting himself in that situation, giving me a step-back from 30 because we’ve seen him do it,” Paul said. “So, in that situation, it was mind-boggling for him to take the two with them being down three points. I bet he won’t make that mistake again though.”
Later in the segment the conversation turned to the relatively slow bubble start of LeBron James. Pierce was also asked if James’ low numbers are something to worry about going into the end of the season and the playoffs.
“LeBron is the last person I’d be concerned about in this situation, I mean, we never have had this issue with LeBron. Yes, he is older, so he’s going to take a couple more games to get back in the rhythm… As long as LeBron is healthy going into the playoffs, that’s all that matters. The Lakers are going to secure the number one seed. He can coast in these last couple games until he gets his legs under him. But, LeBron will be ready for the playoffs, and he’s going to be on a mission.
Watch the full segment on the Jump below.