Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
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Damian Lillard, an Oakland native who attended many Warriors games as a kid, played his final regular-season game at Oracle Arena on Thursday night.
In a pregame interview, 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.
“So that’s the thing. 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.
“To then make it to the NBA and come here and play 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.
Turning his game up a notch or three when facing the Warriors is standard for Lillard, who averaged 33.5 points in his previous four games against his hometown team prior to Thursday’s matchup. 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 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.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Blazers-Damian-Lillard-on-Warriors-final-13494542.php.