Damian Lillard: It'll Only 'Get Harder from Here' After Game 1 Win vs. Lakers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) works the ball against Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Portland won 100-93. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard knows his team's work is far from done after defeating the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 in Tuesday's Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series at Walt Disney World Resort.

"We also know that it's only going to get harder from here," he said following the win:


"We also know that it's only going to get harder from here." @Dame_Lillard after Portland's big Game 1 win against LA. https://t.co/fJE9XvUE56

Everything has looked fairly easy for Lillard in the bubble, and he was brilliant again Tuesday with 34 points, five rebounds and five assists. He helped take over in crunch time alongside CJ McCollum by drilling multiple threes down the stretch and drawing much of the defensive attention to open up Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. for important triples.

It was more of the same for Lillard after he averaged 37.6 points and 9.6 assists during the eight seeding games and then dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies with a double-double of 31 points and 10 assists in the play-in matchup.

Still, the Lakers are in a championship-or-bust season after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference. LeBron James is also 35 years old and may not have many more golden opportunities to win a fourth career ring.

It would be stunning if Los Angeles came out as anything but extremely motivated in Thursday's Game 2 under these circumstances, which is something Lillard seemed to understand given his comments.

If Portland can hold the Lakers to 15.6 percent from three-point range again, it can seize a commanding 2-0 lead over the Purple and Gold.

That's going to be far from easy.