Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Neil Olshey was on 1029/750 The Game Monday morning joining the Jim Rome Show.
The 3-seed Blazers dropped Game One of their first-round playoff series to the 6-seed Pelicans on Saturday night, 97-95 at Moda Center.
“The important thing is to stay consistent with our principles,” Olshey said in the interview. “Make sure we don’t over-react to one bad half, come back and take care of business tomorrow night.”
“I don’t think we’re afraid of being down 0-1,” Olshey claimed. “It’s not an enviable position to be in, for sure. Now we’re just going to have to play it like it’s a road series. Get tomorrow night, then go on the road and do what we need to do there.”
For the Blazers to get right in Game Two, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum cannot afford to have replicas of the series opener. The back court stars combined to shoot 13-for-41 (31.7%) from the floor, and McCollum did not make a shot in the first half.
Olshey said his confidence remains unchanged in Lillard, due in large part to his commitment to the organization and his underdog mentality.
“One of the things that people forget now that he’s a max player and he’s ‘Dame D.O.L.L.A.’ – in terms of the summer – and he’s got a big shoe deal, is that deep down, he’s a kid that was quite honestly over-looked for the majority of his basketball life,” Olshey explained.
But what if Portland loses this playoff series? Is there any joy to be had in finishing as the number-three seed in a loaded Western Conference? Especially after many media outlets predicted a non-playoff finish? Olshey said the fixation is less on winning a title, and more on being in a position to maximize the season.
“There are so many things out of your control,” Olshey said. “You have to put yourself in a position to win a championship. That’s the key.
“There’s got to be an intrinsic joy in watching guys that you care about, that are positive reflections and ambassadors for your city, out there competing every night, playing winning basketball, and giving you hope that the organization is building towards an ultimate goal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always going to get there.”
Follow @1029TheGame and tune in to Hoops 120 with Peter Sampson Saturdays from 10am-Noon for your latest coverage of the Trail Blazers first round playoff series with New Orleans.