Damian Lillard after Blazers' latest win over Warriors: 'We're the real deal'

Take a look at the Western Conference standings, and underneath the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, you'll see a surprising team in third place: the Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have used a massive nine-game winning streak over the past few weeks to surge into third in the West. They extended that winning streak on Friday night with an impressive win over the Warriors, 125-108. Of course, Stephen Curry was not in the lineup, but nonetheless it was a big win for Damian Lillard and Co. 

The win, apparently, had Lillard feeling quite confident. "We're the real deal," the All-Star point guard said after defeating the defending champs. Via ESPN:

"We're the real deal," Lillard told ESPN in a walk-off interview.

"We know they take over games and dominate third quarters and they came out and made a run for it and I really liked how we weathered that storm," Lillard said. "They did what they always do, but we kept fighting."

Lillard finished the game with 28 points and eight assists, and is now averaging 32.6 points, six assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game during the winning streak -- which coincidentally started with a win over the Warriors back on Feb. 14. 

Following their second defeat of the Warriors within a month, and with victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz on this streak, there's no wonder why the Trail Blazers are feeling confident. 

But even with how well they've played in this stretch, they'll need to keep it up. Because of how congested the standings are in the West, they're still just four games up on the 10th-seeded Jazz after Friday night's win. There's so many teams below them that it seems impossible for the Blazers to drop completely out of the playoffs, but they could certainly fall down into the middle of the pack if they slip at all during the last month of the regular season. 

Such is life in the Western Conference, where not even a nine-game winning streak in February and March can leave you feeling completely safe about your playoff hopes. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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