This year was so promising for the Portland Trail Blazers, much like years past. But then the team suffered some key injuries at the end of the season that is a major setback for them moving forward. With CJ McCollum already out with injury, Jusuf Nurkic fractured his leg and was lost for the postseason.
In a talk with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, McCollum and Damian Lillard talked about how hard it was hard to see Nurkic down for the count and how the team has recovered.
As Dame says it, every player has had to step up in his absence and their goal is still the same: winning a championship and winning rounds in the playoffs. The two both described the moment when Nurk went down, but they can only keep suiting up and fight without him.
The two also speak on the adversity they faced following last year’s sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans, the Blazers owner dying right before the season started and how closeknit the team is. They emphasize that winning the first game (which they did) against the Oklahoma City Thunder won’t erase the pain of being swept two years in a row and it won’t take the pressure off what they’re trying to accomplish. At the end of the day, they still have to win a series and advance deep in the postseason for them to be satisfied.
The topic of Russell Westbrook also came up, with Dame saying it’s going to be a dog fight between the two because they’re such great competitors.
Watch the full interview up top. Can they beat the Thunder again tonight?