The Portland Trail Blazers never could get anything going in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last night, missing their first 13 shots to open the game. In the mind of Blazers star Damian Lillard, a lack of foul calls in his favor were another aspect of the game worth noting, too.
* Recap: Sixers 101, Blazers 81
Lillard attempted three of the Blazers' 24 free throws (which was more than the Sixers, who only had 17) and he felt last night was a continuation of a theme he's experienced at times this season. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian had more from Lillard and his complaints after the game:
"I got to the rim a lot," Lillard said. "And I'm getting smacked in my head, smacked on my shooting hand when I'm going to the basket. Guys (are) knocking me to the ground every other play. Like hard. And (officials) know I'm trying to score. It's impossible for me to shoot two or three free throws. It's impossible. As much as I got to the rim and as much as they know that I'm trying to score, it's impossible for me to get the (crap) beat out of me as often as I do."
What's more, he says the issue has been bubbling in recent games and been a topic of discussion between he and a Blazers assistant coach.
"We talk about this stuff all the time, where I try to just play through it, tough it out and kind of let it not affect my approach and how I'm playing the game," Lillard said. "But it's clear situations sometimes, where I'm getting downhill and I'm getting pushed in the back. And I'm trying to jump up and I'm getting pushed out. And getting slapped on my arms. Stuff like that.
"It's frustrating, especially when you get in some situations and you want to try to maybe take over a game and you want to try to make stuff happen (in) big moments of the game. And it's even more frustrating because I don't try to draw fouls. I'm trying to score the ball. It's irritating."
"I don't want to look at it like, I'm this person or I'm that (so) you're supposed to call these fouls," he said. "I think a foul is a foul. I know it's tough. They've got a tough job, man. But I'm not one of these guys out here trying to sell them on every call ... I'm playing to score the ball. I ain't trying to be out here hitting the ground every other play, because that's not what I'm going out here trying to do. I'm not going to be falling out the air to get two free throws and hitting the ground the way I'm hitting the ground. I'm getting hit. I don't want to keep doing it."