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Lillard happy to be back in playoffs: 'Last year, I went to Coachella'

Gary Dineen / National Basketball Association / Getty

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard isn't upset about missing out on Coachella this year.

Following the Bucks' 109-94 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night, Lillard expressed how he'd rather be playing in the postseason than attending a music festival.

"The last two years, not being in the playoffs, it sucked," Lillard said during his postgame press conference. "Early vacations. Last year, I went to Coachella. I ain't never been able to go to Coachella, playing in the playoffs every year. So just having that long summer, I was over that."

Lillard made the playoffs for eight straight years while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers but was held out during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons as his former team finished among the bottom three in the Western Conference.

The 33-year-old admitted that while his life has become "a little bit harder" off the court since being traded from Portland to Milwaukee, he's grateful for an opportunity to compete for an NBA championship.

"Being able to be in a playoff series on a championship team and a championship organization, knowing that we got an opportunity for it, I think that was the thing that I was looking forward to most," he said. "I moved my life and moved my career and did all of these things, and kind of made my life a little bit harder away from basketball for this opportunity.

"Coming into it, in my mind and in my heart, I was just like, 'Man, I can't come this far and not at least try to put everything into it and put my best foot forward.' So this is just one game, but I know this is gonna be a hard journey, every night out. I'm just excited for this opportunity."

Game 2 of the Bucks-Pacers series is scheduled for Tuesday.

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