Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
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Damian Lillard, an Oakland native who attended many Warriors games as a kid, hit the game-winner with 5.1 seconds left in his final regular-season game at Oracle Arena on Thursday night.
The Trail Blazers’ All-Star point guard recalled his memories of the Warriors’ longtime home and gave a laundry list of players he followed back in the day.
“All the way up to Baron Davis,” Lillard said. “I remember the game Baron Davis dunked on Andrei Kirilenko. I mean, I was around for all that stuff.
“As a fan, you wish it wasn’t happening. You know how much it means to the city of Oakland to have something positive happening, especially with the team having so much success right now.
“And then to be able to make it to the NBA and come play here in front of all those people and my family, it’s been an honor. So it’s sad to see them moving on.”
The Warriors will play across the bay at Chase Center next season.
“There’s a lot of people in Oakland who have always been behind the team and take a lot of pride in them playing in Oakland,” Lillard said. “I’m sure people will be hurt by it. People will be bothered by it. Leaving the city. But it’s a business. They’ve got to make decisions to best fit what they want to do.”
Turning his game up a notch or three when facing the Warriors is standard for Lillard, who has averaged 31 points in his last five games against his hometown team. In his previous eight games against the Warriors, he scored 30 or more points four times.
“I represent this city,” Lillard said. “When I come here, I want to represent myself well. A lot of family and friends come to see you play, so you’re excited about that. You have energy, and they’ve been one of the best teams in the league, so you want to beat them. To do that, you’ve got to put your best foot forward.”
Asked for his best memory, Lillard provided a doozy. He was 9 or 10, and he arrived early for a Rockets-Warriors game.
“My brother and I used to walk to the games because we lived right around the corner,” he said. “Steve Francis was doing his pregame workout, and the ball bounced up into the stands, and I ran down the stairs and got it. I was going to throw it back, and he was like, ‘No, come shoot it.’
“I went on the court and shot a three, an airball. That’s the story.”
John Shea is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Blazers-Damian-Lillard-on-Warriors-final-13494542.php.