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Damian Lillard Explains The Trail Blazers Mentality: "We Put Our Hard Hats On. (We’re) Blue-Collar Team.”

CJ McCollum Responds To Damian Lillard And The Trade Rumors Surrounding Him: "Bruh At This Rate We're Going To Have To Do An Emergency Press Release On My Podcast If They Keep This Up"

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Following a tough couple of weeks, it seems like the Portland Trail Blazers are peaking at the right time. RIP City recently beat the Utah Jazz and looks to avoid the play-in tournament and secure a playoff berth.

The Blazers have won 9 of their past 11 games after dropping multiple matchups. They finally seem to get into a defensive rhythm, which has been their biggest issue for the past 3 years or so.

So, after knocking down the league-leading Utah Jazz on the road last night, Damian Lillard told ESPN that the team has embraced their new mentality and playing selfish basketball and tough defense during their good stretch:

“It’s what our identity has always been. We put our hard hats on. (We’re) Blue-collar team,” Lillard said. “We’ve been defending. We’ve been sharing the ball. We’ve been able to sustain that level of focus and that level of play for longer periods of time. That’s why we’re winning games.”

The Blazers control their own destiny and are almost a lock to avoid the play-in scenario, as they own the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Lakers.

They've won 41 games thus far and only need one more win to clinch a playoff spot, with the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets as their upcoming rivals.

Right now, Terry Stotts' team sits at the 5th spot in the Western Conference, meaning that they'd be due for a first-round matchup vs. Denver if the season ended today.

But perhaps the most important thing about the Blazers' recent surge is the fact that they're finally healthy. Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic have done wonders for this team's once subpar defense, and you know that Lillard and McCollum will get buckets when needed. So, we're putting the league on notice: watch out for the blue-collar Blazers.