Damian Lillard reveals Blazers' referee distraction in Game 1 loss
Lillard talking to the media after their Game 1 loss in Denver (Bart Young/Getty Images)

Though things got chippy between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, the Blazers never got distracted from the task at hand, defeating the sixth-seeded Thunder in five games. 

Despite that, there was a little more jawing between the Western Conference's third seed and the referees in their Game 1 loss against the Denver Nuggets

"I think it was a little bit more of that, probably more than we needed," he said about their talks with the referees. "Maybe we needed to not say as much. Any time you see guys wanting it that bad, you're going to say stuff sometimes, but we might've had a little too much of that tonight."

Not Going Their Way

The Blazers' star point guard felt the calls weren't going their way especially when driving to the rim, which resulted in his frustration. It didn't get any better on their end when the Denver Nuggets' star player, Nikola Jokic was getting some calls, finishing 12 for 12 from the foul line. 

"It was a little bit of a heated game when it came to the whistle for us. We'd say something when something needed to be said," Lillard said. "Nobody got a tech, so it wasn't anything disrespectful. But when your season is on the line, you've got to be willing to challenge what's happening out there and try to put your team in the best position to win."

Officiating A Headline

The referees have headlined so far this NBA Playoffs. The collective group has ejected 12 players already, nine more than last year's playoffs combined. The officials were a main point of discussion after Sunday's Rockets-Warriors game in which Houston was disappointed about not getting multiple calls on James Harden three-point attempts with players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green closing out on his landing space.

Chris Paul was ejected from that game late on after putting his hands on the officials and was fined $35,000 for that.