Damian Lillard feels he doesn’t always get the respect he deserves.
The two-time Western Conference All-Star has been snubbed — in his mind — from the team the last two seasons, and he doesn’t really understand why.
“He plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most, if not the most, storied franchises in that big of a market,” Lillard said. “So, so many people are going to support him throughout that, and also with his dad and all the attention that’s been surrounding him since college.
“There’s a lot of people that follow him, so, that’s not really a surprise to me. The market size and what’s going on with his family, it’s no surprise really to me.”
Lillard has battled injuries this season, forcing him to miss seven games, but he has played at an All-Star level and should get a spot at least as a reserve.
“I’m trying not to think (about facing his former team),” Miller said. “I did not think I would be facing the Rangers so soon. It’s going to be weird for my ex-teammates and my buddies. I don’t even know what to think, to be honest. It’s going to be pretty wild.”
McDonagh will miss the chance to face his former team while he continues to recover from an upper body injury that has kept him out since the first week of February. The 28-year-old former Rangers’ captain has been participating in practice with Tampa Bay while wearing a no-contact jersey. McDonagh is expected to be ready to return by early next week to make his Lightning debut, with the hope he can help improve Tampa Bay’s defensive play, which has slipped in recent weeks.
“D-zone is something we’re continuously trying to work on,” Tampa Bay center Brayden Point said. “We’re watching a lot of video, and I think it’s just finding our guys quicker, maybe a little bit more work ethic. We’re kind of getting sloppy a little bit. We’re losing our checks a little bit too much.”
The Rangers, meanwhile, are starting to see their already slim playoff hopes start to fade away coming off a 3-0 loss at home to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. New York sits seven points out of the second wild card spot with 15 games left to play.