Basketball

Lillard to sit out games if Blazers denied playoff shot on restart

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ByReuters
26/05/2020 at 20:01 | Updated 26/05/2020 at 20:03

May 26 (Reuters) - Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has said he will sit out the rest of the NBA season if it resumes in a format that prevents his side from competing for a playoff spot.

Portland was 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who occupied the final Western Conference playoff spot, before the season was suspended in mid-March when a player tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The league is considering various options to restart the campaign, one of which would involve scrapping the rest of the regular season and moving directly into the playoffs, according to ESPN.

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"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team," Lillard told Yahoo Sports https://sports.yahoo.com/damian-lillard-doesnt-plan-to-participate-in-resumed-nba-season-if-blazers-dont-have-true-opportunity-to-make-playoffs-144736029.html.

"I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games. I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now."

Lillard said he was in favour of a play-in style tournament involving seeds 7-12 to determine the final postseason berths.

"If they come back and say it's something like a tournament ... if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect," five-time All Star Lillard added. "We had fought ourselves back into position to get a spot."

The NBA is currently in talks with The Walt Disney Company about restarting its suspended season at Disney World in Florida in late July. (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)

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