Damian Lillard Says He's 'Got to Be Better' Amid Blazers' Struggles

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIApril 25, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard dribbles during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is taking the blame for his team's recent struggles. 

"I'm not playing well enough," he told reporters after the team's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. "I'm on the floor because that gives our team the best chance to win, and I've got to be better." 

Lillard scored 23 points in Sunday's loss, which was the team's fifth straight. 

The 30-year-old returned to action Wednesday after missing three games due to right hamstring tendinopathy. In six games leading up to the injury, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. 

He posted 27 points in Friday's loss and 22 on Wednesday. 

Portland entered Sunday after setting an NBA record in their loss to Memphis on Friday with their fourth straight loss at home by a combined five points, which was the lowest such margin in league history (h/t Dylan Mickanen of NBC Sports Northwest). 

They have now lost nine of their past 11 games. 

He told reporters that he thought his teammates were as disappointed as he was in their recent performance:

Sean Highkin @highkin

Damian Lillard: "If you're not frustrated going through loss after loss in games you feel like you should win, then that's an issue. I'm sure all of us are frustrated right now."

At 32-28, the Trail Blazers are currently in position to participate in the Western Conference play-in tournament, holding the seventh seed. 

"At the end of the day, it comes down to our desire," Lillard said after the team's Wednesday loss to Denver. "How bad do we want it? How much do we want to be better? How much do we want to change from what it’s been? I think, that’s when you’ll see it. When we collectively as a group decide this is where we’ve got to improve now."