Lillard looks to first postseason with Portland

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 19, 2014 at 2:29 am •  Published: April 19, 2014
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts expects guard Damian Lillard to make a quick adjustment to playoff basketball.

"I think he'll be a seasoned veteran five minutes into Game 1," Stotts said.

The second-year starter has always played beyond his years.

Last season Lillard ran away with the league's Rookie of the Year race, leading all first-year players with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games.

He broke Stephen Curry's rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185, and became just the third NBA rookie with at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson.

And he swept all six of the league's Rookie of the Month awards.

This season, Lillard became the first player to participate in all five events connected to the All-Star game: the Future Stars game, the skills challenge, the 3-point shootout, the dunk contest and finally the All-Star game itself.

And now he's ready to test himself in the playoffs.

"I'm looking forward to it," Lillard said. "For me, I'm just going to try and go into it and play it like another basketball game, and not put too much pressure on the fact that it's my first playoff game, or that we're on the road, or all those other things. I'm just going to try and play like it's another basketball game."

The Blazers open their first-round series against the Rockets on Sunday night in Houston.

Portland won 54 games this season and returns to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The Blazers won their final five games of the season and nine of their last 10 going into the postseason.

The Rockets also won 54 games this season, with 33 victories at home to rank fourth in the league.

Lillard is averaging 20.7 points this season, second on the team to fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge (23.2). Lillard leads the Blazers with an average of 5.6 assists.