As far as the NBA was concerned, a rivalry between Paul George and Damian Lillard seemed unlikely – at least a rivalry that seemed to come out of nowhere.
But with a bye three seasons ago, the George Lillard controversy was born. She has everything needed for an NBA controversy: dirty speeches on the field, buffoonery and social media.
In the bubble in Orlando, Florida, it reached a crescendo to the point where family members would be involved. George would have spoken to Lillard to try and clear things up, but the argument had already started.
For the first time this season, Wednesday’s game pits the Los Angeles Blazers and Clippers against the Portland Trailblazers: How did it get this far?
I don’t care what people say, it’s a bad thing.
When Lillard ran across the middle of the field, George picked him up about 45 feet from the basket. In April 2019, in the first round of the playoffs, the George’s Thunder faced the Blazers and lost 3-1 in the series.
With Portland and without the Jusuf Nurkic centre, which had broken his leg a few weeks earlier, the Thunder were the favourites, but Lillard let them run the whole series, especially with the 30-foot logo rockets. George was fully aware of this and was on his way to Lillard as soon as he crossed half the line.
George closed the hole while Lillard walked around in circles and exceeded the time limit. The other eight players are scattered and leave Lillard and George on an island, one on one.
George took a deep defensive stance with five seconds left before Lillard turned the ball back and forth, from right to left, from left to right.
George looked at the clock on the other side of the floor. With three seconds to go he made a gesture on Lillard, who jumped to the right and dribbled hard, leaving a little space between him and George.
George saw Lillard go back to the set. The ball left Lillard’s arrow 1.5 seconds before the clock. Officially it was on the list as a 37-footer. But she held on to the rafters for what seemed five minutes, with a foot or two more as time went on.
The buzzer sounded when the ball went over the net, plunging the Moda centre into chaos and sending Thunder home in five games. Lillard just greeted the Thunderbank.
It made a little sense. You have to understand why Lillard was waving. There has always been a bitter rivalry between Lillard and Russell Westbrook – fierce divisional rivals guarding each other. Westbrook loves tweeting, teasing and gesturing, and he did it so many times against Lillard when he scored post-ups with his rockboy. As the series progressed, the discourse on waste intensified when Dennis Schroeder imitated Lillard’s characteristic wrist gesture in Game 3.
Mr. Lillard noticed.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
Damian Lillard says he says goodbye to thunder after his buzzer responded to OKC cheers after winning match three.
The series is over. That’s it, Lillard said about his wave. After the third match Dennis Schroeder showed his wrist. They were there to do all these parties and things. After a victory. We said: Okay, what we want is to win four games. If we win these four games, there’s nothing to talk about.
There was a lot of talking back and forth, a lot of discussions and things, and that was the last word.
George, who is now part of an iconic scene in the history of the NBA, had a voice in the post-match shooting.
It’s a very, very bad shot, George said. I don’t care what people say. Bad catch. But he did. We’re not saying it was a bad shot. We live with it.
In the series, Lillard hit 8 out of 12 over 30 meters. For some people, that’s a hard blow. For Lillard, it was just open.
A simple tweet: Have fun.
– Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) 24 April 2019
I sent [Patrick Beverly] home for ……. Paul George was just sent home from the playoffs last year.
Lillard, who has freed 88.9 percent of his career, came on the line with 18.6 seconds to go and the Blazers remain behind. It was last August, and the Blazers tried to take the 8 seeds in the NBA Bubble in the heat of Orlando. They played against the Clippers, who had already secured their position for the post-season and who would certainly race deep as favorites for the title.
Lillard missed the first free throw. For a player who has built up a solid reputation as a pairing artist it was surprising. The absence of the second free throw was amazing.
On the Clippers’ bench, Beverley, who had to sit through a slight injury, clearly enjoyed Lillard’s miss. He said. He laughed. He slammed his wrist to make Lady Time laugh. Other Clippers, like George, went for it.
Mr. Lillard noticed.
After I missed the first time, I heard them screaming in there, Lillard said. It just shows me what they expect of me downstream. You know what I do. I saw it with my own eyes when I was a second baseman when he was in Houston. I’m sure he has good memories of it.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
Damian Lillard says the fact that Patrick Beverley and Paul George dragged him after they missed their shot is a sign of respect, and points out that he sent them both home in the playoffs.
Apparently George was waving at Lillard at one point. Lillard was questioned.
Lillard said he said goodbye last year. I’m not offended. On the contrary, he should just tell you how much they suffered because of what I did to them in those situations.
Lillard’s quotes were edited and published on all known Instagram accounts, and George commented on one post.
The scene on Instagram pic.twitter.com/wk4JuD5af7
– SportsCenter (@SportCenter) 8 August 2020
And you’ll be sent home this year. Respect, George.
Lillard’s answer: Keep changing shifts… get away from the hassle. You guys are idiots.
Beverly said: Cancun for 3 people with three smiling faces. George then tried to remind Lillard of some of his past successes after the season. Respect for the fact that I also had more success in my first team…. The ladies are running out of time.
The fuse is lit.
I think I should extend the invitation to Cancún.
Just like in their last two games, the Clippers have taken a double-digit lead and seem to be on their way to their first appearance in the Western Conference finals.
It was game seven against the Denver Nuggets, and after taking a 3-1 lead in the series, it was a win-win situation as the Clippers failed to win games five and six. But these two games were anomalies. In the seventh game it’s usually the best team that wins.
The Nuggets reduced an 11-point half-time deficit to two points. Denver took the lead for three minutes in the third period. The Nuggets took control of the fourth quarter (82-74), but again, with players like George and Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were sure to make it to the top. It’s not that.
Four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Clippers fell by 14 points. Their attack turned out on a path, with forced rebounds, static ball movements and erratic ball possession.
Neither party managed to score within three minutes. The Nuggets took the lead, but the Clippers were lost. This turned into a public shame of losing the Clippers because the social media were roasting in a fast burning fire.
I’ll get the wine. The weather is also nice, as always https://t.co/oE0d6gPBPy
– CJ McCollum (@CJMcollum) 16 September 2020
Sounds good to me https://t.co/nw3YU9TKFl
– Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) 16 September 2020
Lillard and his teammate C.J. McCollum showed that they also have good chemistry out of court. The Nuggets got 20 points and McCollum waved to Lillard when he was asked if he had an extra mansion in Cabo. Lillard reacted with a series of smiling faces. McCollum gave travel advice and wondered aloud if the Clippers had packed their suitcases before the match. Probably around the time George unfortunately hit the back wall on the corner of Street 3 – in a timeless wreck of the Clippers – McCollum showed a series of smiling faces with a Bruugh.
Someone tweeted Lillard a link to George’s embarrassing miss and asked him if it was a good shot. Sounds good, Lillard answered.
Just before the last bell, Lillard twittered to Beverly: I should probably extend this invitation from Cancún because I haven’t signed a contract yet, with three smiling emojis.
There was a long off-season for George and the Clippers.
While watching the videos, George made an explanation that drew attention.
I want to resign, he said. My heart is here and I’m happy.
An Instagram account posted a quote from George with two similar statements he made to the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lillard saw this and made a comment.
Al Capone, Lillard said.
The point: Cap is a word for a lie. Lillard said he wanted to be somewhere and then he asked for a trade.
To Pacers: My goal is to win here. I never want to leave Indy. A few months later he asked for an exchange and was transferred to Oklahoma City.
When he drew with the Thunder again, to the amazement of many, he told the OKC fans from the stage: I’m here to stay. We can take this thing home.
George signed a four-year extension, but a year later he asked for a deal with the Clippers. Earlier this month George signed a five-year contract with the Clippers, making a statement.
Part of Lillard’s personality as a player is his unwavering loyalty to the Blazers. He has made it clear time and again that he doesn’t hang around in the big markets and that he’s not the kind of player who secretly makes phone calls to meet another star somewhere else. He’s determined to win in Portland. And he made sure he kept his word.
And this could be the true heart of the ox.