Tuesday’s game was 1st time Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook exchanged in-game barbs
Tuesday night’s Western Conference showdown between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder marked the first time point guards Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook had exchanged in-game barbs, as Westbrook was visibly irritable in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
“In the past, we’ve just never spoken on the court,” Lillard admitted, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. “We don’t say nothing.”
“I see him and I see how he is almost angry toward other people, so I take that same energy with him. I don’t speak to him before the game. I don’t shake hands. I don’t do none of that. I’m like, ‘It is going to be what it is going to be.’ That’s my approach.”
Westbrook and Lillard started exchanging verbal jabs with Portland down 11 with 1:20 to go in regulation, as Lillard headed to the foul line for a pair of free throws.
Looks like Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard had some words for each other after this huge dunk from Russ 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/3ACWommXmw
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) January 23, 2019
“He said, ‘Shoot your free throws, the game is over anyways,”’ Lillard recalled.
Having sunk both and cut the deficit to nine, the Blazers star shot back.
“Ain’t s**t over when I’m out here,” Lillard remembered telling him. “We are going to see.”
“I told him, ‘You know what time it is,”’ Damian Lillard said.
“I don’t know no time,” Russell Westbrook retorted.
“And… we just went back and forth,” Lillard said.
The exchange was silly in nature, but Westbrook has carried what has been known as a signature mean streak to actually picking fights with the likes of Lillard’s teammates Jusuf Nurkic and even Sixers big man Joel Embiid.
It’s only a matter of time before someone is willing to engage him at his own game, a gambit that could only result in a fine and possible suspension if done in front of the officials.