Damian Lillard Comments on Blazers After Loss vs. Warriors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the game against the Golden State Warriors on December 17, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

The 2016-17 season hasn't gone according to plan for the Portland Trail Blazers, and they reached a new low Saturday night, losing 135-90 to the Golden State Warriors.

After the game, point guard Damian Lillard didn't hold back with his criticism of the team's overall performance.

"Man, it's OK to turn the ball over, it's OK to make mistakes, but we have to play with some damn heart and compete out there," he said, per ESPN.com's Chris Haynes.

Lillard placed the blame on himself and his teammates rather than the coaching staff: "This isn't about what the coaches are doing, this is on us. We have to take responsibility for what's going on. This s--t is ridiculous. We've got the talent; we've just got to put it together consistently."

The Trail Blazers exceeded expectations in 2015-16, securing the fifth seed in the Western Conference and upsetting the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.

Buoyed by last season's success, Portland went on a spending spree, re-signing Allen Crabbe, Moe Harkless and C.J. McCollum to lucrative extensions and paying top dollar for Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli in free agency. The Blazers went from 27th in team payroll ($66,562,366) in 2015-16 to third in 2016-17 ($113,260,408), per Spotrac.

McCollum's four-year, $106 million deal doesn't even kick in until 2017-18, either.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Despite their personnel additions, the Blazers are 13-16 and eighth in the West.

The Turner signing has been a disaster. According to NBA.com, Portland has a minus-11.3 net rating when he's on the court. Ezeli, meanwhile, may not even see the court this year, with The Vertical's Shams Charania reporting Saturday the big man may undergo season-ending surgery.

In October, ESPN.com's Marc Stein wrote that some NBA executives thought Portland's busy offseason was in part about acquiring assets who could be packaged for a big trade down the line. The Oregonian's Mike Richman argued Thursday the trade market may not be fertile ground for the Blazers, even if they have roster flexibility.

Andrew Bogut, Greg Monroe and Nikola Vucevic would all come with big question marks, and the same goes for DeMarcus Cousins—assuming the Blazers could convince the Sacramento Kings to trade him.

Until Portland finds some help in the frontcourt, the team's issues are unlikely to subside, even if its effort level improves following Saturday's heavy defeat.   

Related

    Dame Time Redefined in NBA Bubble ⏰

    Lillard adds another chapter to his legend after wild 134-133 win over Nets ➡️

    Portland Trail Blazers logo
    Portland Trail Blazers

    Dame Time Redefined in NBA Bubble ⏰

    Grant Hughes
    via Bleacher Report

    Nets HC: Damian Lillard's Range Is 'Changing the Game

    Portland Trail Blazers logo
    Portland Trail Blazers

    Nets HC: Damian Lillard's Range Is 'Changing the Game

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    Blazers vs. Grizzlies Play-in Game Format, Rules, More

    Portland Trail Blazers logo
    Portland Trail Blazers

    Blazers vs. Grizzlies Play-in Game Format, Rules, More

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: NBPA Exec. Director Thinks 2020-21 NBA Season Could Start Between Jan-March

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: NBPA Exec. Director Thinks 2020-21 NBA Season Could Start Between Jan-March

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report