Game 6 Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 99, Rockets 98

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May 2nd, 2014

NOTES

• The Trail Blazers have advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2000. Portland will play the winner between San Antonio and Dallas when they meet in Game 7 on Sunday.

• Damian Lillard is the first NBA player to make a buzzer-beating shot to win a playoff series since John Stockton, 5/29/97 at Houston (Elias Sports Bureau).

• Portland remains undefeated in close-out games at home during a seven-game series in team history (9-0 all-time).

• This is the first time in franchise history that the Trail Blazers have won a postseason series against the Rockets (0-3 prior to this season).

• LaMarcus Aldridge's 29.8 scoring average vs. Houston is second highest by a Trail Blazer in any playoff series (Clyde Drexler-31.4, 1992 vs. Phoenix).

• Damian Lillard's game-winner gave him six 3-pointers, tying a Trail Blazers playoff franchise record (Terry Porter, 5/16/92 vs. Utah).

• Damian Lillard joins Ray Allen (1999-2000) as the only players with 15+ points and 2+ 3-pointers in each of their first six career playoff games. He also joins Paul Pierce (2002) as the only NBA players with 150+ points and 20+ 3-pointers in their first six career playoff games.

• LaMarcus Aldridge is just one of five players with 150+ points, 50+ rebounds, 15+ blocks in his team’s first six playoff games since 1986 (Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson).

• Damian Lillard has now made multiple 3-pointers in six straight games, the longest streak in Trail Blazers postseason history. Damian Lillard leads all players during the 2014 NBA Playoffs with 23 made 3-pointers.

• The Trail Blazers gained their first lead of the second half at the 11:00 mark of the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Nicolas Batum (81-79).

• Portland outscored Houston, 11-2, in the final 2:23 of the first quarter.

• Dwight Howard recorded at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in all six games of the series.

• Rockets forward Chandler Parsons grabbed a new career postseason high tonight with 12 rebounds.

• James Harden led all players tonight with 34 points. He scored 13 of Houston’s 29 first-quarter points.

QUOTES

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Damian Lillard

On Whether He Knew The Game Winner Was Going In:
“I mean, I got a pretty good look. Mo and Wes did a great job of trying to screen and I was able to break free and I got my feet squared up and it felt real good leaving my hands. Once I saw it on line, I said that’s got a chance. It went in, but it did feel good when it left my hands.”

On Whether It Was The Biggest Shot Of His Life:
“That’s definitely the biggest shot of my life – so far.”

On His Thoughts After Going Down 2 With 0.9 Left:
“I think I can speak for our entire team – when Chandler Parsons made that layup with 0.9 seconds, everybody was like man, we have to go back to Houston. I told LA the first I did after he made it was look to the other end at the clock to see how much time was left. I knew we would get a shot off. I didn’t know what the quality would be of the shot, but we got as good of a look as we was going to get and we executed the play that coach drew up in the timeout and here we are.”

On His Interaction With Crowd After Buzzer Beater:
“Once the shot went in and I knew the series was over, the crowd was so into the game. I think our whole team really wanted to get it done for them, not only ourselves, our group in the locker room but for the crowd because they show up so consistently for us. They were with us. The whole series, they were with us 100 percent. I felt like they deserved to be rewarded. Us sticking out on the court and kind of rallying and chanting with the crowd for a while, I think that’s what Portland has been looking for for a long time as far as advancing past the first round, I’m just excited that I can be on the team with this group of guys and we were the group to get it done.”

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LaMarcus Aldridge

On Lillard:
“He’s been great all year. He’s made big shots for us all year. He’s definitely played older than his years. He came into this game locked in, wanted to win it. He came out playing great basketball for us. It came down to the last shot and he made the shot and after he made the shot, I didn’t let him go for about three minutes. After those three minutes was up, he got free. He’s big for us. He’s big for this franchise. He’s been great."

On Going To The Second Round For The First Time In His Career:
“It feels good. It feels weird but it feels good. The people that’s been here with me, we’ve definitely had our moments where we felt like we should have made it and we’ve had teams that maybe should have done it in the past so it feels good to finally make that step."

On The Series:
“It was a great series. We felt like we got better from it. They’re a really talented team. They’re good 1 through 5. We felt like they definitely helped us grow because we’re so young in the playoffs, but they definitely helped us grow and we feel like we should be better for the next round. We’re happy now but we’re not satisfied.”

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Head Coach Terry Stotts

On The Rockets And The Series:
“Before I want to talk about the game, I really want to just express how good the Houston Rockets are. It was a great series. Any game could have gone either way. Both teams really played hard. It was a great series and the Houston Rockets, they played a great series and so my hat is off to them. But it was a hell of a win obviously and I don’t know that it could have been any more dramatic.”

On The Last Play:
“It was either LA or Damian coming up. You try to have two looks. To be honest, I didn’t think Damian would come that open. LA was probably the first look but Dame came wide open. So it was one of the two looks.”
“In those situations, it wasn’t about going for the win. Like I said, LA with 0.9, LA can get a catch and shoot or something can happen down there, but I just wanted to try to get a clean look at the basket.”

On Lillard's Game Winner:
“He lives for those moments. It looked good when it left. It’s remarkable. It was a remarkable shot.”

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Dwight Howard

On Thoughts With 0.9 Left:
“No threes. That’s what we talked about in the huddle. The only thing that could have killed us at that moment was a three. That’s what we thought about, taking away the three.”

On Emotions Through Last Play:
“You can’t relax. It’s the playoffs. You can’t relax. When you relax, that’s when things happen. I’ve been telling you guys the whole series, you’ve got to always be in attack mode. You can never get back on your heels. When you do, things like this happen. It’s a learning experience for a lot of these young guys on our team that each possession counts in the playoffs.”

On Losing The Series At Buzzer:
“It hurts. When you put everything you’ve got on the floor and somebody hits you with a dagger like that, it’s a tough pill to swallow.”

On The Loss:
“It’s a tough loss, but it’s something we’ve got to learn from. Like I’ve said the whole series, we cant take any possessions off. We can’t relax. Every bucket counts. Portland came in and played with a lot of confidence. They hit some big shots. They played great defense. They ran their stuff. They were well coached. They won the series, so congratulate them. I’d love to see Damian and LaMarcus, now that we’re out, win it. I’m friends with both of them, so I’d be proud of them if they can take it.”

On Looking Forward:
“Well we’ve got a great nucleus of guys. Everybody has to come back better next season and see the mistakes we made this year as a team and try to learn from them so next year we won’t have situations like this.”

On What He Told Lillard After The Game:
“I told him great series, I’m proud of him and go win the ‘chip.”

On What He Takes Away From The Series:
“You’ve got to play with confidence. You can’t relax. Some of the guys on our team, including myself at times, we relaxed on the floor. Nothing is easy. I’ve been to the Finals, I’ve been to the Eastern Conference Finals, I’ve been to the top and it’s not easy getting there. You’ve got to make everything count. I think that’s a big lesson for us all. No matter who we play, no matter what happens in the regular season, you can’t take any team for granted. Portland came out and played from the first game to tonight, those guys played together. Just watching their mentality on the floor, it was good. It was a seasoned team. So there’s a lot of things we can learn from this series and hopefully come back next year and be a lot better.”

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Head Coach Kevin McHale

On The Last Play With Parson Covering Lillard:
“They matched up over there and he just took off running and got some separation on his first step. No picks, he just took off running and caught it and shot it. He came running out from the weak side and we didn’t execute very well on that one. I think that’s a play we had to play defense for 0.9 seconds. We said no threes and we were trying to make the guys go back into the two point line and catch it. We had a foul to give if they did catch it but I figured at that point they’re going to catch and shoot anyway so it’s hard to use the foul. He made a hell of a shot.”

On Mood In The Locker Room:
“Terrible. How do you think we would be?”

On Portland Defending Harden In The Second Half:
“James had a hell of a game. They got up on him a little bit more, but he had 34 points for the game on 15 shots. He played really well. Dwight was really good down the stretch. It wasn’t what they did, we just got Dwight the ball more in the second half.”