Damian Lillard had some choice words for Paul George and Patrick Beverly after the two Los Angeles Clippers guards mocked the Portland Trail Blazers star for missing clutch free throws.
Lillard muffed the potential game-tying and go-ahead free throws with less than 20 seconds left as the Clippers hacked out a 122-117 win over the Blazers on Saturday, August 8 (Sunday, August 9, Manila time).
As Lillard struggled at the line, Beverly was caught on camera celebrating with teammate Marcus Morris Sr and tapping his wrist – the signature celebration of the Blazers guard – and yelling "Dame Time!"
George, meanwhile, apparently waved goodbye to the Blazers after the botched foul shots.
In retaliation, Lillard reminded Beverly and George how he sent the two home in separate occasions in the playoffs.
"PG did the wave because he also was surprised [that I missed] because he experienced being waved at last year," Lillard told reporters after the game.
"I expect myself to make those free throws and I did not when my team needed it, which is a failure for me that I can accept."
"Asking me about Patrick Beverley, who I sent him home before at the end of a game. Paul George is a guy sent home by me last year in the playoffs so they know," Lillard added.
"The reason they reacting like that is because of what they [are] expecting from me, which is a sign of respect and it just shows what I have done at a high clip more times than not. I am not offended by it."
Lillard hit one of the biggest game-winners of his career in 2014 as he propelled the Blazers to their first playoff series win in 14 years with a buzzer-beater against Beverly and the Houston Rockets in the first round.
Then last season, Lillard embarrassed George – who still played for the Oklahoma City Thunder – with a 37-foot game-winner to tow the Blazers to the second round of the playoffs.
"If anything, it should just tell you how much it hurt them to go through what I put them through in those situations previously," Lillard said.
The bickering continued on social media as Beverly and George reacted to what Lillard said.
Beverly commented "Cancun on 3" – alluding to Lillard going on a vacation – while George wrote "you getting sent home this year" next to a crying laughing emoji.
Lillard once again called out George, this time for changing teams, something that he has not done as he stayed with the Blazers.
"Keep switching teams. Running from the grind. You boys [are] chumps," Lillard commented.
Word war aside, Lillard and the Blazers remain focused on winning the rest of their seeding games to try to take over the Memphis Grizzlies for 8th place in the West or at least force a play-in for the last playoff berth.
The Blazers (32-39) are just 1.5 games behind the Grizzlies (33-37). – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.