We're in a good space - Lillard positive despite Trail Blazers' defeat
Damian Lillard is staying positive despite seeing the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff series lead over the Denver Nuggets wiped out on Sunday.
Having come through a quadruple-overtime epic to nudge 2-1 in front in the series earlier in the week, the Blazers lost their advantage on home court, going down 116-112 to a Nuggets side again inspired by Nikola Jokic.
But Portland won Game 2 in Denver and Lillard says that they can take confidence from the experience of that victory as they go back on the road on Tuesday.
"It happens," Lillard told a news conference after shooting 28 points. "The playoffs are going to be competitive, it's not always going to go your way.
"The good thing for us is that we won a game on their court, it's not like we lost both there, they came here and won one and we're going back facing elimination.
"I think we're in a good space, 2-2. We know we're capable of winning on their floor. That's what we've got to go get done.
"Obviously it's disappointing - you don't want to let an opportunity like this slip - but it happens. It's playoff basketball and we've got to move forward."
He added: "Every series is about hoops, regardless of what else is happening, because we're playing basketball. It's two good teams trying to advance - that's all it is - and we've got an even series.
"We've got to go back on their floor and win one on their floor, regardless of what happens, so we need to be trying to make that happen on Tuesday."
The Blazers were comfortable in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in the previous round and CJ McCollum acknowledges there is work to do to get back to that level.
"I think it's entertaining because we play an entertaining brand of basketball," he said. "We get out and run, we shoot threes, we have isolation situations and we've got a pretty good home-court advantage.
"I think [the Nuggets] play a nice brand of basketball, where there's backdoors, there's dribble hand-offs, taking that extra pass, things of that nature. I think that's why it's a fun game to watch.
"In terms of the difference in the series, we didn't have lapses like we did tonight in the third quarter in the last series - that was the difference.
"Only scoring 14 points in a quarter is really going to set you back and I think that was the difference. We didn't give up as many offensive rebounds in the Thunder series as well.
"We have to tighten those little things up offensively, get a shot every possession, and defensively limit them to one shot and we'll be fine."