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Oh, Deer: Damian Lillard says he thought the Bucks would be playing more like the Celtics

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Life comes at you fast sometimes.

I’m sure Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard might be feeling that sentiment right about now.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Lillard discussed the beginning of his stint in Milwaukee. When asked if he felt his Bucks team would’ve hit the ground running to start the season, the eight-time All-Star not only expressed some disappointment in how his squad has fared so far but even suggested he was hoping that they’d be more like the Celtics.

“I thought we was going to be how Boston is right now,” Lillard told Mannix. “But I think what I’ve learned is that some things take time, especially stuff that has reward in the end. You can’t come into it and think that it’s just going to be all peaches and cream. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had a coaching change. I haven’t completely settled in to finding who am I on this team. And that’s kind of a tough thing.”

Of course, not every single team that comes together during the summer is going to come out of the gates like Boston did this season. The Celtics have been unbelievable so far and have shattered most expectations surrounding them heading into the year (championship expectations are still there, make no mistake),

As of today, the Cs have a commanding 8.5-game lead over the third-place Bucks.

There’s still plenty of meaningful basketball to be played, but it is pretty funny seeing some frustrations trickle out from one of the Celtics’ biggest competitors in the East.

It’s especially sweet because throughout Lillard’s summer-long hostage holding of the NBA media with his trade request, he made it extremely clear that he had no interest in joining the Cs — not that it was really his choice anyway, but he begged to go to Miami and got Milwaukee instead.

During a June interview with Dan Patrick, Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, and more importantly, someone who is close with Lillard, laughed at the idea of the star guard being traded to Boston.

“He’s not doing Boston. He’s not. He’s not doing Boston,” Haynes told Patrick. “I don’t see that. … I think that’s pretty safe to say.”

I mean, I don’t think anyone here was heartbroken when this came out. Lillard’s contract is a monster. It includes a player option for $58 million when he’s 36 years old. If he’s already widely considered a defensive liability at 33, it wouldn’t be fun to shell out that much cash for him at that age.

The Celtics might actually be the biggest winners of the entire charade. After Dame was dealt to the Bucks, they were able to swoop in and land Jrue Holiday in a deal with the Blazers. Holiday has been fantastic for Boston this year in a smaller role. He’s given them a strong presence on the defensive end and has been a knockdown shooter from long range.

Who knows, things could still go south for the Cs in the postseason and Milwaukee could very well get hot and go on a title run. It’s not impossible by any means.

But as of today, it sure feels like we’re all watching a real-life NBA version of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Dame in June: “No way I’m going to Boston.”

Dame in February: “I really thought we’d be playing at the same level as Boston is.”

Curb theme hits*





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