Oakland native Damian Lillard isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially when criticism is thrown his way.
The normally clutch Lillard, who has ended multiple NBA playoff series with a game-winning shot, missed two key free throws late in the Portland Trail Blazers’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
Patrick Beverly, who himself is famous for mixing it up with opposing point guards, had some words for Lillard from the sideline.
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Beverly was a member of the Houston Rockets team Lillard sent home in the first round of 2014 NBA Playoffs, and Clippers star Paul George was the man contesting Lillard on his buzzer-beater that eliminated George and the Oklahoma City Thunder from the postseason last spring. Lillard brought both of them up during his postgame interview with TNT’s Taylor Rooks, and George clapped back in the comment section.
George and the Clippers have a playoff spot clinched and currently would be the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, while Lillard’s Trail Blazers are 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot.
As with many NBA beefs in recent years, the discourse continued in the comment section.
George also posted a message on his Instagram story addressing the back-and-forth.
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George, a six-time All-Star, suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg during a 2014 Team USA scrimmage in preparation for the FIBA World Cup, causing him to miss most of the 2014-15 regular season.
Lillard’s rare failure in the clutch benefited the Kings, as a win by the Trail Blazers would have eliminated Sacramento from postseason contention. The Kings currently are two full games behind Portland for the ninth spot in the West, with three games remaining before the playoff field is solidified.
Hopefully for NBA fans everywhere (except in Sacramento) Lillard and the Trail Blazers find a way into the postseason so we can get another chance to see him go up against Beverly, George and the Clippers.