Damian Lillard lamented the Trail Blazers’ defensive execution against Stephen Curry in a loss to the 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 3-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 midrange 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.”
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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.