The key difference between Damian Lillard and Steph Curry against elite defenses – The Athletic

The Blazers, series underdogs staring at the possibility of a 3-1 hole, needed to enter Monday as the more desperate team, to bite first, to dictate first-quarter action, to disrupt the Lakers’ previously successful defensive game plan and preferred approach, if they had any plans of avoiding a first-round stomping.

Portland didn’t. It took fewer than two minutes to arrive at that realization. The clip below opens at the end of the Lakers’ third possession of the night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hits a corner 3 to put the Lakers up 5-0.

As it swishes, he doesn’t run back. Caldwell-Pope instead darts under the hoop, right where his shot just landed. Damian Lillard is there. Frank Vogel’s staff has instructed him to press Lillard full-court on selective possessions, not to create turnovers but just to bother Lillard, bleed some shot clock and occasionally force the ball out of his hands.

Lillard and the Blazers surely knew the…

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