Damian Lillard does not intend to move on from the Portland Trail Blazers to team up with other NBA stars any time soon.

The guard signed a four-year, $196million extension with the Trail Blazers and refuses to "sell out" for championship rings by leaving the city that picked him sixth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Lillard spoke with Complex on Wednesday and discussed his thoughts about super teams.

"I think people are taking control because there's no greater time to do it than now," Lillard said.

"And I don't have a problem with that, but the way I see stuff is, like, I don't prefer to go that route. Just like they're choosing to do this stuff for their career, I'm choosing to do what I want for mine, too."

This offseason was an eventful one in the NBA. Kevin Durant elected to part ways with the Golden State Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets, Anthony Davis forced his way to the Los Angeles Lakers via trade request and Paul George leveraged his way to an ideal situation when he joined Kawhi Leonard on the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The balance of power has shifted in the NBA because of these moves, but Lillard wants to stay put and win it all on his own terms.

"To leave, what did I invest all this time for just to leave, you know?" Lillard said. "If I go play with three other stars, I don't think that many people would doubt that I could win it. We would win it, but what is the challenge or the fun in that?"

Lillard, a four-time All-Star, has consistently been one of the best guards in the NBA in recent years. He has career averages of 23.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists and has developed a reputation for knocking down clutch shots – like the signature dagger that eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder from the 2018-19 playoffs.

"I wanna be the one, the star that wants to be here [in Portland]," Lillard said. "I wanna be the one that embodies all of those things and then be a part of the rise from 'we haven't won since '77, and now we won, and Dame's everything to our city'. I just am who I am, and that fits here."

James Harden and Anthony Davis are among 20 players selected for the United States' provisional squad ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China.

Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton and Kevin Love are also some of the big-name players who will be vying for spots on the final 12-man roster when it is announced on August 17.

USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo revealed the 20 players set to attend training camp in Las Vegas in August, a group from which the World Cup team will be selected.

Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Eric Gordon, Tobias Harris, CJ McCollum and Myles Turner return from USA's last squad, while six new additions are Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and P.J. Tucker.

"We're pleased with the players who will be attending the 2019 USA Basketball National Team Training Camp, and we feel we will be able to select a strong team for the 2019 FIBA World Cup," Colangelo said.

"The majority of these players possess prior USA Basketball experience, and we know all of them are committed to representing their country and doing so in the manner expected by USA Basketball.

"Like past national team training camps, this group too possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and athleticism. 

"We've been watching a lot of players during the NBA season and the six players who we've added to the National Team roster we feel are deserving of being part of our national team program."

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard are other possibilities after the NBA Finals, though LeBron James has already said he will not play in the tournament, which begins on August 31.

The Las Vegas training camp will run from August 5 until August 9. A further three days of training will be held in Los Angeles from August 13, with an exhibition match against Spain being played the day before the final selection is announced.

Gregg Popovich, USA head coach for the first time, said: "I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected.

"We've got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.

"I'm appreciative of commitment that our National Team players continue to make, and the eagerness of the new players to become involved. 

"Selecting a 12-man team will be extremely difficult. But I look forward to working with all of the players, representing the United States and doing so in a manner that all Americans will hopefully rally behind."

Terry Stotts received a multi-year contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers in part because of his success developing young players.

News of the extension was revealed on Tuesday as the Blazers went through their exit interviews following the 4-0 series defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Confirming the news, general manager Neil Olshey told reporters: "We win every year. But it goes beyond just wins and losses. It's alignment. It's partnership. It's knowing the organisation is moving forward.

"It's a commitment to a longer-term view, that there are priorities beyond just the next game.

"We still have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Every [player] who has come through here has gotten better. At heart, you're hiring a coach to be a teacher.

"As we see the league get younger, there's such a value placed — especially in a market like Portland, where we can't always buy our way out of trouble — on developing our young players and finding reclamation projects and developing them.

"I don't know that anybody has had as much success as this staff in second-round picks panning out, guys who have flamed out elsewhere becoming contributors and integral players. That consistency is important."

Former Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks coach Stotts took over the Blazers in 2012. They have made the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons and won 50 games or more three times.

"I'm pleased with the season," Stotts said. "I'm pleased we came to an agreement. I'm very happy here. I'm happy with the team.

"It was probably the most enjoyable year I've had as a head coach as far as the group of guys we had. We've gone through peaks and valleys over my tenure. This is another peak. I couldn't be more happy things have turned out the way we have.

"I never thought I was going to get another opportunity as a head coach. Neil plucked me out and gave me the opportunity. To be here seven years later is remarkable. I have a lot of gratitude for everyone who has helped make that possible."

The Trail Blazers are also expected to give All-Star point guard Damian Lillard a supermax extension this offseason, stretching out his deal to six years.

The Golden State Warriors have reached their fifth successive NBA Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is not worried about his injury.

Lillard, who has been playing through a separated rib on his left side against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals, told reporters on Sunday he feels "fine".

"I don't think it's something that's affecting my game," Lillard told reporters.

"Not really [limiting], just the pain from having a separated rib. There's nothing you can really do about it. Just when I get winded, it's a little harder to breathe. Contact, when you're in there banging with guys, just normal stuff."

Lillard appeared to suffer the injury when he collided with Kevon Looney in the third quarter of Game 2.

He then played 40 minutes in Game 3, scoring 19 points on five-of-18 shooting. 

The 28-year-old star has knocked down just 32.9 per cent of his field-goal attempts and turned the ball over 14 times in the series against the Warriors.

"There's not much you can do to increase my level of respect for him," backcourt partner CJ McCollum said.

"I understand who he is as a person to the core, so it's an unfortunate situation and injury to have to fight through, but he's a strong person, and understanding what's at stake.

"We're in the playoffs right now, so there's no excuses and there's no way I feel like he can sit out of a game or anything of that nature. So, we've just got to keep pushing forward, and as I said, we can rest in the summer."

The Trail Blazers held double-digit half-time leads in each of the past two games. But, the Warriors rallied and came away with wins in both of those matchups to take a 3-0 advantage.

"You look at the numbers and there's a slim chance of you winning the series like that, but we've got a lot to play for," Lillard said.

"Obviously you never know when the first time it's going to happen, we could be the first team to do it. Also, you don't want to go out being swept in the Western Conference finals. Pride, being competitors, being professionals, we've got a lot to play for. We're not ready to just go out there and say, 'Oh, we did our best, we had a great season.' We've got a lot to play for."

Game 4 between the Warriors and Trail Blazers is on Monday.

Terry Stotts thinks effort will be more important than strategy when the Portland Trail Blazers try to avoid being swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors moved 3-0 up in the series with a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday, Stephen Curry scoring 36 points while Draymond Green claimed a triple-double.

Portland held an 18-point lead in the second quarter but added just 13 in the third as Golden State came from behind to move one win away from a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

Stotts felt the Trail Blazers offense "fell apart" in the second half and called for improved energy levels in Game 4 at Moda Center on Monday.

"We're going to give it our best effort on Monday. I mean, that's all that matters, is we give it our best effort. We give it everything we have on Monday, and whatever happens, happens," said Stotts.

"But that's [about] having the pride and professionalism to give it the best effort and to get a home win, and then go from there.

"I don't know if it's as much about strategy as about just rallying around and giving it the best effort possible."

Portland overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round before beating the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 in the semi-finals, and C.J. McCollum, who scored a team-high 23 points on seven-of-20 shooting, is excited by the prospect of an all-or-nothing match.

"You never want a series to end, especially in your home court. Everybody on this team has pride," said McCollum.

"Everybody on this team understands what's at stake, and we've been through a lot of adversity this season and in our lives individually. We're looking forward to the challenge.

"We dug ourselves in quite a hole but now for us it's just one game at a time. The next game is Monday at home in front of our fans and we want to do our best to try to put on a good show."

Damian Lillard added: "It starts with one. We've still got another game on our floor, and that's a solid start for us.

"We can't look at Game 5 or Game 6 or any of that. We've just got to get one. We're confident that we can do that and then once we do that, we build from there."

Two-time reigning champions the Golden State Warriors are one win away from the NBA Finals after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 on Saturday.

Golden State used a Draymond Green triple-double and a third-quarter comeback to top the Trail Blazers in Portland for a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

After trailing by 13 points at half-time in Game 3, the Warriors outscored the Trail Blazers 29-13 in the third quarter to take a lead into the final frame they would never relinquish.

Over the last two games, Golden State – playing without injured star Kevin Durant due to a calf strain – have outscored Portland 68-39 and erased double-digit deficits in each of those outings.

The Trail Blazers' free-throw shooting absolutely destroyed their chances down the stretch as they missed 13 free throws in the clash.

Warriors star Stephen Curry posted a game-high 36 points while adding six rebounds and three assists for the visitors, while team-mate Green had 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals.

The Trail Blazers face elimination when they host the Warriors again in Game 4 on Monday.

The Golden State Warriors and their quest for a third successive NBA title remains on track after the reigning champions earned a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State came from behind to trump the Portland Trail Blazers 114-111 in Game 2 on Thursday.

The Warriors erased a 15-point half-time deficit to take control of the playoff series, which heads to Portland for Game 3 on Saturday.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' victory.

 

Iguodala makes big play when it matters most

Veteran Andre Iguodala did not have a great game.

The Warriors forward finished with four points on two-of-six shooting and missed all three of his three-point attempts. Yet, he came through for his team when they needed him most.

The Trail Blazers had a final chance to tie the score trailing by three points with less than 11 seconds remaining. Iguodala, however, stripped the ball away from Damian Lillard as he was attempting a three-pointer.

Iguodala also chipped in five rebounds and four assists.

 

Stephen Curry delivers again

Warriors superstar Stephen Curry continues to shine with Kevin Durant sidelined.

Curry was once again phenomenal for Golden State. He finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to carry his team to a win.

Durant has been out since straining his calf in Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets and he is not expected to play in either of the next two matchups.

Without Durant, Curry scored 33 points to help Golden State close out the Rockets and followed that up with 36 points in Game 1 against Portland. The Warriors will need him to continue playing at that level.

 

Warriors bench makes an impact

The Warriors received unexpected contributions from multiple players off their bench on Thursday.

Backup centers Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney combined for 25 points and 10 rebounds in 43 total minutes. Jonas Jerebko grabbed seven boards, as well, while Alfonzo McKinnie hit a key three-pointer.

This series could be a short one if Golden State's role players continue to make an impact.

The Golden State Warriors are firmly in control of the Western Conference finals after edging the Portland Trail Blazers 114-111 in Game 2.

Golden State pulled out a win over the Trail Blazers in a back-and-forth game at Oracle Arena on Thursday as the two-time reigning champions earned a 2-0 series lead.

The visiting Trail Blazers outplayed Golden State early and held a 15-point advantage heading into half-time.

But, the Warriors worked their way back into the contest by opening the third quarter on a 16-4 run and erased an eight-point deficit with a little less than 4:30 to play in the final period.

Trailing by three points with 12.3 seconds remaining, Portland had a final chance to tie the score. Andre Iguodala, however, stripped the ball away from Damian Lillard as he was attempting a three-pointer to level the game.

Stephen Curry was once again phenomenal for Golden State. He finished with 37 points on 11-of-22 shooting and added eight assists, along with eight rebounds. Klay Thompson contributed 24 points.

Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 45 points for Portland in the losing effort.

The Trail Blazers will host Game 3 on at the Moda Center in Portland on Saturday.

 

Damian Lillard lamented the Portland Trail Blazers' defensive execution against Stephen Curry in a heavy loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

The Warriors opened the Western Conference finals with a comfortable 116-94 victory in Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

Curry was in fine form, scoring a game-high 36 points including making an impressive nine-of-15 from three-point range.

Lillard said the Trail Blazers would need to improve defensively to have any chance against the two-time reigning NBA champions.

"That was very poor execution defensively on our part," he told a news conference.

"Just having our bigs back that far, understanding the team that we're playing against, they're not going to shoot mid-range jumpers and try to attack the rim.

"If they see an opportunity to shoot a three they're going to take it. They shoot it at a high clip so we've got to bring our guys up and run them off the line.

"They were setting solid screens and they're coming off shooting practice shots and that's the last thing that we need if we want to have any chance to beat this team."

Portland stars Lillard (19 points) and CJ McCollum (17) combined to shoot 11-of-31 in the defeat.

Lillard praised the Warriors' defensive setup, acknowledging they had made life difficult for him in the series opener.

"They gave a lot of attention to the ball when I was coming off screens," he said.

"Even when I was in isolation situations I was seeing two and three people so I think that was obvious, that they were trying to make things harder for me just by making me see bodies and sending two guys at me sometimes.

"Sometimes I couldn't even get an attempt up, even if I was trying to force it, but they did a good job defensively.

"Even when I was trying to find guys, they were getting deflections just because it was a crowd. They were making me play in a crowd so I thought they were successful at that in this first game."

Game 2 is at Oracle Arena on Thursday.

The Golden State Warriors are one win closer to the NBA Finals after cruising past the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors topped the Trail Blazers 116-94 at Oracle Arena in the Western Conference finals to take a 1-0 lead in the series on Tuesday.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State's strong start to the series.

 

Portland's stars were duds

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both need to show up to make this series competitive, but they were cold in Game 1.

The two combined to score 36 points on 11-of-31 shooting. They also tallied 10 turnovers between them. 

If Lillard and McCollum cannot come close to the 54 points per game they have been averaging in the playoffs, the Trail Blazers will not have a shot.

 

Stephen Curry has found his stroke

Stephen Curry's shooting has been streaky at times during the postseason, but he caught fire against Portland.

The two-time NBA MVP has acknowledged the dislocated finger he suffered against the Houston Rockets has caused some discomfort, but it did not appear to be a factor in the Warriors' big victory.

Curry tallied a game-high 36 points and knocked down nine three-pointers along the way. He has taken his game up a notch in the absence of Kevin Durant, and it is doing wonders for his team.

Golden State are pushing the pace

The Warriors made a point to get out on the break against the Trail Blazers, who struggle in that area.

Golden State rank third in fast-break points per game (16.6) in this year's playoffs while Portland rank 15th (10.6).

The defending champions outscored Portland in transition 17-2, so the Trail Blazers should probably pick up the pace or figure out a way to slow down Golden State.

The Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday when the Portland Trail Blazers travel to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1.

Golden State has overcome several postseason injuries to key players while Portland has surpassed the expectations of most.

Omnisport looks at three things that could determine the outcome of this series between the Warriors and Trail Blazers.

Kevin Durant's health

The absence of the postseason's top scorer will definitely affect Golden State's offense. Durant has not played since Game 5 of the second round, when he suffered what has been described as a mild calf sprain. One report on Monday said the star could realistically miss four to five games of the Blazers series while recovering.

Durant has averaged 34.2 points per game through 11 playoff contests, but he is effective elsewhere as well. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averages 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

His tall frame and astonishing quickness make him one of the NBA's most versatile defenders. His mobility allows him to guard any position and create plenty of mismatches when he initiates the offense.

Part of what makes Golden State so great is their seemingly limitless arsenal, but with two starters down with injuries - Durant and big man DeMarcus Cousins - the Warriors seem considerably more vulnerable.

Stephen Curry is battling a dislocated finger and that makes matters even worse.

Damian Lillard's efficiency

Damian Lillard was not at his best in the second round. 

The Trail Blazers star struggled to be efficient against the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 25.1 points per game in the series but shot just 39.6 percent from the field. He was worse from deep, making just 27 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.

Lillard is deadly when he is on form, and he will need to be that to counter the most efficient three-point shooting team in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 37.2 percent from range and will likely throw plenty of bodies at Lillard to limit Portland's offense. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will likely be assigned these roles.

Lillard was phenomenal in the first round against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. He averaged 33 points per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from deep.

These numbers probably will not be replicated, but it is clear that Portland's star is capable of so much more. He will need to play closer to his ceiling to reach the NBA Finals.

Bench production

Golden State's rotation choices could be interesting moving forward. The Warriors' bench minutes seemed to diminish against the Houston Rockets. Durant's injury forced them to surprisingly use 11 players in their decisive Game 6 win against Houston.

The Warriors got 33 bench points in that contest, which is unusual for a team that ranks 14th in reserve points per game out of the 16 teams in this year's playoffs. The Warriors are averaging 22 bench points per game, but Portland have not been much better.

The Trail Blazers rank 10th, averaging 27.8 bench points per game.

Getting unexpected baskets from second units could be the force that pushes one side over the top.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers forced Game 7's in their respective Conference semi-finals.

In Portland, the Trail Blazers took down the Denver Nuggets 119-108 to even the Western Conference series 3-3 and set up a Game 7 in Denver on Sunday.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard starred 32 points and CJ McCollum added 30 in the NBA playoff clash on Thursday.

Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Denver's loss on the road.

Earlier on Thursday, the 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 112-101 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference.

Jimmy Butler had 25 points, Ben Simmons posted 21, Joel Embiid put up 17 and Tobias Harris finished with 16 as the 76ers forced a deciding seventh game in Toronto.

The team that wins Game 7 will play the Milwaukee Bucks – who defeated the Boston Celtics 4-1 – in the Eastern Conference finals.

 

Kawhi shines again

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the Raptors' loss.

 

Gasol struggles in Philadelphia

Marc Gasol just has not worked out for the Raptors this year as he recorded seven points and three rebounds on eight of eight shooting.

 

No stopping Lillard

Lillard was in the mood as he helped the Trail Blazers avoid elimination in the west.

 

Warriors at Rockets

The Houston Rockets are down 3-2 in the series but the Golden State Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a calf injury in Game 5. Do not sleep on Golden State without Durant, though. This team won 73 games without him in 2015-16 and are more than capable of winning one of the next two games, including Game 6.

Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone hailed Paul Millsap as "the calm for our team" after a resounding 124-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 on Tuesday.

Millsap scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a performance that set the tone for a physical display from the Nuggets, who lead the Western Conference semi-final series 3-2.

The 34-year-old power forward is averaging 19 points, 9.6 rebounds and a field-goal percentage of 55.1 against the Trail Blazers in the postseason.

Coach Malone said: "He's been phenomenal, but it's not surprising for any of us.

"[He's a] 13-year vet, a lot of games under his belt and he's stepping up when we need him to step up.

"The best thing about Paul Millsap is he's true to himself, he never tries to be someone he's not. He's not a guy who's going to be screaming and yelling, but his calm nature, his calm demeanour has an effect on our group – a young team going through all this for the first time.

"When you can look to a four-time All-Star with 90 playoff games under his belt, that's reassuring. He's the calm for our team and I think that has a tremendous impact on all our young players."

Millsap made seven of his first 10 shots as he scored 19 points in the first half and center Nikola Jokic, who put up 25 points and 19 rebounds, was impressed by the way the veteran set the tempo.

Jokic said: "He was huge. He set everything: physicality, pace, offensively, defensively. He was really huge.

"He's actually playing really good these playoffs. Maybe he turned on the playoff mode."

Denver are one game away from reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2009, but Malone is cautious of the threat posed by Damian Lillard after his heroics in Portland's first-round win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"No disregard to anyone else on their roster, he's their best player and when you watch the five games against OKC in the first round he dominated that series," he said.

"We guarded him really well in the regular season and we've guarded him well for five games now.

"But he's a great player, he's an All-Star for a reason and he's capable of scoring 50 in Game 6 and we're well aware of that, so we have plenty of work to do. We're not done yet."

Lillard had 22 points, his second-fewest in this postseason, and acknowledged the impressive defensive job the Nuggets have done on him but warned he could well step through the gears with the Trail Blazers on the brink of elimination.

"They're doing a good job, they're making me see bodies, they're playing physical, guys are chasing hard over the screens, they're not quitting on plays so there's not a lot of space out there," said Lillard.

"I think the opportunity [to score 50] is there. I've had big games against tough defense in games where I was getting a lot of attention. With our season on the line and knowing we've got to have two games in a row, you never know.

"We know that we're more than capable of getting it done in the next game. We don't feel like we've played our best basketball yet and with our backs against the wall we don't have a choice."

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." 

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