The Portland Trail Blazers are currently sitting at a 30-21 record, which is good for the sixth spot in the Western Conference. That means that, should the season end tomorrow, they'd be a lock to make the playoffs.
Terry Stott's team has had its fair share of ups and downs this season. They either blow out teams or fail to compete at the highest level, and that inconsistency has taken a toll on the way people think of them around the NBA.
Moreover, the fact that they can't seem to keep up with other title contenders is quite worrying for Damian Lillard, as the playoffs are just around the corner and the time to make adjustments is winding down.
Damian Lillard Gets Brutally Honest On The Blazers' Title Hopes
So, when asked about the situation following their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Lillard was brutally honest and call himself - and his teammates - out for not playing up to their rivals' level:
“When we play against the top-level teams, we don't play well. At Phoenix, we got put away. Tonight, we got put away. At Denver, we got put away. Milwaukee at home, we got put away. Clippers, got put away. I mean, you know, it's not like a small sample size," Lillard said, according to NBC Sports.
“You’ve got to be sharp, you know. Physically, mentally, you’ve got to be present, you got to be ready to go, because these teams are top-level teams and those are the teams that we're trying to be next to, we’re trying to be in that same bubble of teams," Lillard added.
The talented point guard knows that his team needs to play to a certain standard if they want to have a shot in a seven-game series, and that they're not playing with the grit and character they should when they face a contender:
“We just haven't won those games. We just haven't shown that we're that level of team. You know we're capable of it. I think, you know, y'all know that I'm the biggest believer, but it comes a time where, when you get on the floor, you got to do it. … and we just haven't shown it when those matchups have come. And that's where the growth and that's where we have to make some strides in that area," he explained.
“You’ve got to look in the mirror. I’m not saying anything that’s not obvious. And I think for us, the first step is acknowledging the fact that it’s just true. And, you know, just being sharp and being locked in and just taking that to heart, to have some pride in those games. The fact that we don't play well against the top-level teams, we’ve got to take that to heart and we’ve got to have something to prove." Dame concluded.
Should the season end today, the Blazers would meet vs. the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, and that's just not a great matchup for Damian Lillard and company. So yeah, they better do something ASAP.