PORTLAND, OR — The dream of remaining undefeated this season is over.
After beginning their 2022-23 marketing campaign with 4 straight wins, the Path Blazers dropped their first lack of the season 119-98 to the Miami Warmth in entrance of a crowd of 18,588 Wednesday evening at Moda Heart.
“I believe we received off to begin, which I believed was essential. They turned it round,” stated head coach Chauncey Billups. “I believed their stress was hurting us within the sport, their tempo within the half-court and full-court was hurting us, however the taking pictures was good.”
Portland is now 4-1 total and 2-1 at house this season.
Jerami Grant completed the sport with 11 factors, 4 assists and three rebounds. Anfernee Simons added 14 factors and Josh Hart had his typical yeoman effort with 10 factors, six assists, six rebounds, three steals and a block in 31 minutes. Rookie Shaedon Sharpe got here off the bench to register 15 factors and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.
However the end result wasn’t the worst information of the evening, as Damian Lillard left the sport halfway by means of the third quarter with a proper calf harm and didn’t return.
“The calf simply received tighter,” Lillard stated. “Earlier than the sport it was just a little tight, like just a little irritated, however nothing that I hadn’t felt earlier than. As the sport went on, it did not worsen, however I used to be conscious of it. At half time I put my calf sleeve beneath by tights simply because I wished to place some compression on it.
Lillard appeared to irritate his proper calf on a three-point try, which he made, with 6:07 left within the third quarter. He stayed within the sport for an additional possession, however was shortly out after returning the ball.
“It was the identical at the beginning of the third and on the final shot I made, once I received up actually quick, I simply felt it was getting actually tight,” Lillard stated. “I went again into protection simply to see how it will really feel, it felt good to run down the sphere after which the subsequent time I made one other transfer I attempted to cease and I simply felt how tight it was. It wasn’t like something had occurred, it was similar to I did not care. yard and see what occurs.
“It wasn’t one thing that anxious me an excessive amount of, I simply knew it would not make sense to attempt to get by means of in Recreation 5 of the season.”
Lillard took a battery of checks to gauge the severity of the pressure, which he stated he was capable of full. He additionally didn’t have an MRI, which, with Lillard’s personal statements, would appear to point that the harm is comparatively delicate.
“I imply truthfully, if it was a playoff sport, I might have performed,” the All-Star guard stated. “It might have been tight and uncomfortable, however I might have performed, if that provides you any indication of how anxious I used to be now or how I might have been. If it was actually in play, I might have performed.
Whereas Lillard was adamant that the harm was not critical, he additionally famous that he’ll possible miss Friday’s sport in opposition to the Rockets, which will likely be Portland’s fourth sport in six days. The Path Blazers have 4 days off after Friday’s contest, giving them practically a full week to heal earlier than internet hosting the Grizzlies within the last sport of a four-game homestand on Nov. 2.
“Now I’ve to be sensible,” Lillard stated. “Simply be certain I get a number of therapy periods day-after-day and simply attempt to stretch it out. I most likely will not play in that sport on Friday, it would give me six days of possibly two periods, some days three periods of different days attempt to be prepared for (Memphis) however we’ll see.
Up to now, Lillard may need tried to drive his method again onto the court docket earlier than he was wholesome sufficient to take action. However with the attitude that comes with expertise and age, he realized there was a greater approach to deal with such conditions. Lillard continues to be very happy with being a “participant,” however he is additionally discovered to not let his satisfaction write checks his physique cannot money.
“My perspective has modified, I need to be in it for the period, for the long term of the season,” stated Lillard, who left Wednesday’s sport with 22 factors, two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes. “And it is early. We received off to begin, it is going properly and I have not felt this good since my second or third 12 months. I believe every little thing I’ve carried out this summer time simply provides up. I really feel quick, I really feel sturdy, I do not get drained. And I do not need to lose that so I’ve to be affected person and I can not get forward of myself.
Subsequent, the Path Blazers tackle the Houston Rockets on Friday evening on the Moda Heart. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ROOT SPORTS PLUS and Rip Metropolis Radio 620 AM.
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