"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive."
Those were Damian Lillard's first comments to the media after Portland's 116-106 opening night victory against the Lakers, though his performance throughout the game made that statement wholly unnecessary. Finishing with 22 points and 11 assists, Lillard joined Oscar Robertson and Isaih Thomas, two of the most revered point guards to ever play the game, as the only players in NBA history to put up at least 20 points and 10 assists an NBA debut.
"I felt real comfortable," said Lillard in another statement made redundant by his performance. "It's a lot easier when (LaMarcus Aldridge) is making shots, Wes (Matthews) is making shots and Nic (Batum) is making shots. I got to give credit to them. They made shots and everything came easier for me."
It won't be this easy every night. Teams with as much talent as the Lakers will invariably improve as the season goes on. And teams are going to throw better defenders armed with more in-depth scouting reports at Lillard than the Lakers did, but as far as first games go, it would be hard to ask for more.
Unless, of course, you're Damian Lillard. Though the Trail Blazers finished the night with just 12 turnovers, half of those came courtesy of the rookie point.
"Like I said, I'm been trying to get better at taking care of the ball," said Lillard. "I'm happy we won the game, but like I said, I'll go back and try to fix myself and see what I can do better to help the team."
He'll have 81 more games this season to do just that.