After hitting the series winning three point shot in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against Houston, former Weber State men's basketball star Damian Lillard finally watched his first foray into the postseason as a professional come to a screeching halt in the second round on Wednesday, May 14.
The team responsible for ending Lillard’s magical run was the San Antonio Spurs, who won the series 4-1 but not before Lillard again put his Portland Trail Blazers on his shoulders and led Rip City to one memorable victory. Down three games to none and facing a sweep, Lillard scored 25 points in Game 4 -- marking his best game of the entire series.
But, it wasn’t enough in Game 5 on Wednesday, as Lillard suffered his worst game of the series, scoring just 17 points on 38 percent shooting from the field. Even the three point shooting upon which he relied in the first round against Houston seemed to fail him against San Antonio.
For the series against the Spurs, Lillard shot just 17 percent -- a total that seemed light years from what he accomplished against the Rockets in leading the Blazers to their first playoff series victory since 2000. But in round two, the Spurs were able to sprinkle in three pointers -- which Portland head coach Terry Stotts said was just enough for San Antonio to win rather easily.
"Their transition (offense) in Games 1, 2 and tonight were a big factor in the series. They were so efficient. You look at their 12-for-15 (conversion) in the fast break, that's very efficient. Then they throw a 3 (pointer) in there for good measure," Stotts said at his post-game press conference on Wednesday.
For Lillard and Portland, they will go back to the old drawing board, looking for ways to get back to the postseason next year. There is no question whatsoever that the Blazers are in good hands; it simply wasn’t their time yet to make a championship run.
Lillard is unquestionably Portland’s player of the future, the franchise’s next Brandon Roy. Adidas just signed Lillard to a major sponsorship deal and Portland -- and Lillard -- opened many eyes after such a convincing first round series win over Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets.