Bucks’ Damian Lillard ‘Excited’ To Play First Game Back In Portland

Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA News
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard expressed “a lot of love” for the Portland Trail Blazers and the local community as he prepared for his first game in Portland since his departure. Lillard, an eight-time NBA All-Star, was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks after an impressive 11-season run with the Blazers. His return game is scheduled for Wednesday night.

“I loved the organization. I loved everybody I went to work with every day. And I think what made it the hardest is it wasn’t a wasn’t a broken relationship. So coming back, being able to be here, I’m in a great situation,” Lillard said. “The reason it all came about in the first place was for a chance to win it all. We couldn’t be at that place at the same time. So I come back with love and am excited to be back in the Moda Center.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

Despite Lillard’s success, the Blazers only managed four playoff series wins during his time, reaching the Western Conference finals once. The team struggled in the past season, finishing with a 33-49 record, marking the second year they missed the playoffs. Portland has found it challenging to adapt without their leading point guard, currently ranking near the bottom of the Western Conference.

Lillard is now averaging 25.1 points and 6.8 assists with the Bucks, who recently underwent a coaching change with Doc Rivers replacing Adrian Griffin. Despite having one of the best league records, Griffin was let go, partly due to concerns over the team’s defensive performance.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

Lillard, who has a sponsorship and signature shoe with Adidas, was celebrated at the company’s North American headquarters in Portland. Looking forward to his game at the Moda Center, he shared his excitement about playing in front of familiar fans and returning to a place he considers home.

“I’m excited to be back in Moda Center, I played so many games there I recognize fans’ faces from the court,” he said. “So seeing their faces and being back in the building, being back home, I’m excited to play the game and I’m going to play the game free.”

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