40, 36, 38, 37. This is not the temperature curve of a patient, but the points inscribed by Damian Lillard for four games. Or 37.8 points on average, with a superb 50% success rate at 3-pts.
Since his return from injury, and after a first game to warm up, the Portland star has been burning. The Spurs are the latest casualties, with 37 points conceded at 7/14 behind the arc.
How does the player explain this heat stroke?
“The most important thing is that physically I feel fresh”, he assures The Oregonian. “During my moments away from the courts, I was able to find a routine and work on my body. I’ve said it before: this season, we’re going to see the best version of myself. »
Even absent, he remained close to the group
The All-Star has indeed already missed twelve matches this season, but he has always managed to stay in the group, so as not to break the thread or the chemistry with his teammates. This is the other key to its success.
“I’ve been with the guys at rallies, training, in the locker room. I stay connected to the team,” thus explains Damian Lillard on his philosophy. “I see what’s going on. I watch the players, how they get into the rhythm, where are they comfortable. When you disconnect from the team, it disconnects from you too. Things happen without you. I remained physically and vocally present. »
Josh Hart confirms this. “Mentally, he stayed with us, talking to us, giving advice to young people. It’s as if he hadn’t missed anything. »
Between his assists (8) to serve a teammate alone and his open shots obtained after a move or a screen, Damian Lillard very often made the right choice against the Spurs defense.
“You don’t have to worry about the system, you just have to play. And you have to play fair. Our complementary players are incredible: they know their role,” summarizes Chauncey Billups. “The coach is clear about what he asks of everyone,” continues the leader. “Everyone does what they have to do: Josh Hart and Justise Winslow attack, make the right choice and that generates opportunities for the others. »