As Lillard walked behind Westbrook to position himself near the 3-point line for Westbrook’s free throw, he dropped a barb. “You a 60 percent free-throw shooter,” Lillard said he told him. “You gonna miss both of them.” Westbrook looked back to Lillard and said, “Impossible!” “And you can see, if you look at the (video) clip, he says ’82 (percent)!’” Actually, Westbrook was a 79 percent foul shooter entering that game, but at any rate, he missed the first free throw. Lillard poked back, adjusting that 60 percent jab. “I said, ’50 percent now,’” Lillard said.
Throughout his eight seasons in the NBA, Lillard has never been one to trash talk during games. He has always preferred to have his play do his talking for him. But two players have always tried to test him, bait him, needle him into getting out of his focused mindset: Patrick Beverley and Westbrook.
“Every time I play against Russ, I say something back. Same thing with Pat Beverley,” Lillard said. “With both players, I have always backed up anything I need to say with how I’m playing. But they are two players who it’s important to me to let them know that if that’s what you want to do, you’ve met your match. I’m not intimidated, and I don’t really care what you gotta say, I’m gonna say something back. You know, kind of set that tone. Like, ‘All right … so what?’”
So in that Jan. 15 game in Houston, the Blazers were up 102-88 with 8:08 left in the fourth quarter when Westbrook took Lillard into the post. “He was backing me down and being real physical, and I was being physical back, and he swept (his arms) through and I swiped down and fouled him, on purpose. Hard fouled him.” As Westbrook walked to the free-throw line, he began talking at Lillard. “As he was going to the line, he said, ‘That’s automatic two points. Two points,’” Lillard recalled.
Unwilling to let Lillard have the last word, Westbrook shot back. “What seed you all? What playoff seed are you all?” Lillard remembered him saying. Then Lillard ended the conversation. “I said, ‘You know I’m the last person you want to see in the playoffs.’”
A quick side note on the Lillard-Westbrook relationship: They have become one of the biggest rivalries, if not the biggest rivalry, going in the NBA. They are both elite, intense and don’t back down. It has created some great theater. But Lillard says there is a funny thing people don’t realize: The two don’t dislike each other. “People get it confused that we have an issue with each other, when we really don’t,” Lillard said. “That’s the weirdest thing about it.”
"He's not even in my f---ing league. ... I would never put him on me. ... Put somebody else on me, 'cause I'm gonna tear his ass up every time we play." Jimmy Butler went off on TJ Warren.
With Nick Young getting ready to tie the knot to fiancee Keonna Green -- our guy asked an interesting question ... does D'Angelo Russell get an invite to the wedding?! Nick's response??? "HAHAHAHA!!!"
Look, in a way ... D'Lo is responsible for Nick's upcoming marriage -- because had he not posted that infamous video back in the day, Iggy Azalea and Nick might still be together! It was messy at the time, but things seemed to have worked out for everybody since. Nick's happily engaged (that went down over the Christmas break).
Chris Forsberg: Marcus Smart asked about Pat Beverley scoffing at intensity comparison: “I’m not surprised at all … What I am surprised about is for Pat to think that I’m below him or anything in that standpoint … I think my play speaks for itself … I’m just on another level right now.”
Mark Berman: Russell Westbrook ( @russwest44 )on Pat Beverley ( @patbev21 ): “Pat Bev trick y’all man, like he play defense. He don’t guard nobody man. He just running around doing nothing..As you seen what happened 47. All that commotion and ( @jharden ) got 47.”
Chase Hughes: Isaiah Thomas was asked about his return to Boston on Wednesday. When discussing his former teammate Marcus Smart, IT said: “He flops.”
And Beverley hounded Curry throughout the game. With 1:28 to play in the second quarter, Beverley forced Curry into a turnover, turned and jawed at the Golden State bench. Beverley then squared off with Curry at the other end of the floor and began talking trash. “You had the last five years,” Beverley told Curry, according to a source. “The next five years are mine.” To that, Curry laughed and replied, “Aren’t you 31?” Indeed, both Curry and Beverley are 31 and have a long history together—the two have been friends since they were roommates at various camps when they were teenagers, including the camps hosted by Paul Pierce and LeBron James.
Ballislife.com: Shaq released a 2nd diss track at Damian Lillard: 2nd Round Knockout! "The world going to see you fall / I'm going to do you like Rondo did to Chris Paul" "You rap cause you need it dawg, I do it for sport / When you run I see that tampon string in your shorts"
Don't get it twisted ... D-Wade means no disrespect to Lillard -- in fact, he really likes the rap battle going on between the two NBA superstars. But, he had to set the record straight. Remember, Dame dropped a reference to Wade in his dis track this week ... saying: "Said yourself that I'm a Tesla, no longer need Diesel gas. Kinda like the Cavs ain't really need Disel's ass. And even in Miami, won that [championship] on the strength of Flash." So, when we saw Wade leaving the Topanga Mall in L.A., we had to ask if Lillard was telling the truth ... could you have won that ring WITHOUT Shaq?! "No, not at that time," Wade said ... "I was young in the league trying to figure it out." "I needed somebody like Shaq to help me ... gimme me the keys and let me drive the car. I appreciate him doing that."
Damian Lillard dropped his third rap album in August, and the Blazers point guard may have started a new rap beef in a recent podcast appearance after calling out Shaquille O'Neal. “I think I rap better than Shaq," Lillard said on the Joe Budden Podcast in September. "I think he was viewed as Shaq. ... People weren’t looking like this [is] a real rapper. It was like, ‘That’s Shaq rapping.’ So, of course, it was a big deal.”
O'Neal didn't take kindly to Lillard's critique. The three-time Finals MVP released a diss track on his Instagram on Thursday, including a slew of lines that may cut deep for the Portland star. "Take time to respond, there is no hurry," Shaq rapped. "You'll never be Westbrook, never be Steph Curry."
Lillard clapped back with a track of his own on Tuesday, providing a SoundCloud link before heading to practice. "New school got new hits, Space Jam, not Blue Chips," Lillard rapped on the track Reign Reign Go Away. "Hangman, you shoes s---, Game 6, I'm too lit. ... We both could be working at Kinkos, but Kobe won you them rings, though. "
"I think I rap better than Shaq," Lillard said on The Joe Budden Podcast. "I've heard Shaq's stuff. I've like...I think people was like...I think he was viewed as Shaq. People was like, this [is] Shaq. It wasn't like, Shaq and Biggie. People weren't looking like this [is] a real rapper. It was like, 'That’s Shaq rapping.' So, of course, it was a big deal."
Shaq Diesel didn't immediately respond to Lillard's comments, but he recently surfaced with a diss track. He shared the three-and-a-half-minute song on Instagram, opening by saying, "Daddy has to come out of retirement to spank one of these undisciplined children." Shaq goes on to show that no matter how long he's been out of the game, he still has a few bars left in him. "How you say that you better than Dies / When you ain't got more cheddar than Dies / What you talkin' bout? / Legendary I'm a hip hop scholar / I'm tryin' to get a billion who gives a f*ck about a D.O.L.L.A." Check out Shaq's flow below and let us know what you think.
Tommi Beer: In a B/R chat earlier today, Knicks rookie RJ Barrett is asked who he would most like to posterize. His response: “I know who I really wanna say but I’m not gonna. Let’s go with Porzingis.”
Lonzo Ball: I’m not dissing anybody I loved my time in LA. I use my music as an outlet to express things that happen in my life #50and30 out now! Let me know y’all favorite track 👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/xBhI3Ld6ZK
Lonzo Ball dropped his second mixtape titled “50&30″— named after the 50 points and 30 rebounds his manager, Darren Moore, dropped in a charity game — on Thursday and on the first track, “Last Days,” he aired out his grievances with the Los Angeles Lakers and his former Big Baller Brand business partner Alan Foster.
The song opens with the hook, in which Ball repeatedly says the Lakers will regret trading him: "You know I’m all about business; L.A. is going to regret their decision; Straight to the money, you know how we get it; We count up the cash and add up the digits."
Newly signed Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard became an unexpected target of Lakers legends Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on Wednesday after comments from Bryant about O’Neal surfaced. O’Neal’s lack of respect for Howard was such that he refused to even spell his name correctly. But as the eight-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer prepares to join the Lakers for a second time while fighting for his NBA livelihood, he says he has no time or energy to worry about what O’Neal says. Howard was asked about Shaq’s comments during a stream on Instagram Live and Howard referred to whatever Shaq or anyone says as “irrelevant.”
Ben Golliver: After Game 3 loss to Thunder, Blazers guard Damian Lillard said he saw Dennis Schröder tap his wrist a la 'Dame time' celebration: "It was kind of funny. He waited so late in the game when he knew the game was decided to do it. He hadn't pulled that out the first 2 games."
Royce Young: Damian Lillard says he didn't see any baby rocking from Westbrook, but did see Dennis Schroder tapping on his wrist. Said he thought it was funny Schroder waited so late in the game to do it.
Billy Reinhardt: Ben Simmons on if Jared Dudley still thinks he’s average in the half court. “I don’t know, I’m not worried about it.”
Rachel Nichols: Tuesday: FS1 airs an interview in which Terry Rozier calls Joel Embiid “lame.” Wednesday: Sixers beat the Celtics, Embiid posts this on IG. Note the “location” and also the pic with Jimmy Butler.
Terry Rozier: "I thought the confetti was going to drop tonight. A big win, don't want to take nothing away from them, but I thought the confetti was gonna drop tonight."
Boston has won 17 of the last 19 regular-season meetings, the last of which was a 112-109 victory in Philadelphia in February. Embiid believed he'd been fouled by Al Horford in the final minute -- the NBA's Last 2-Minute Report would later agree -- and was fined for his public criticism of the officiating that included profanity. He used more profanity the next night when explaining why he was so angry. "It was against Boston again which I (expletive) hate. I'm sorry, which I hate," Embiid said.
Rob Perez: 10 seconds later, Simmons tip slams on Giannis’ head and primal screams in his grill let’s go
Joel Embiid: It was an honor to be part of the 3rd stringers and get a win against real NBA starters #TheProcess
Kings guard Iman Shumpert was stopped from going into the Portland locker room by arena and Trail Blazers security after Sacramento's 115-107 victory Monday night. Shumpert apparently was angry at Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, who set a hard screen in the second half. "Some stuff needed to be between me and him, a conversation between two men," Shumpert said. "Some stuff happened out there that we needed to have a conversation about. That's it."
"I'm not going to worry about it," he said. "He's going into retirement soon. I'm not going to worry about a guy who's going into retirement soon."
Iman Shumpert: I apologize to the fans if I made a scene. Wasn't my intention but this 2019 stuff is all about a "story". Don't let that distract you from this young Scores ball club getting a great victory against a tested Blazers team #theScoresisHERE #purpletalk
Ben Golliver: Thunder’s Russell Westbrook on his air guitar celebration near Lakers’ Lance Stephenson: “Was I thinking about it? I wasn’t thinking about no damn guitar. It was an and-one. Having fun, per usual.”
To which Embiid responded in the comments: “Bruh that’s a block, layup … whatever that is. You were bbq chicken on the post tonight. You had 4 fouls in 8 mins young fella. I would’ve fouled you out in 10. That’s a welcome to the f league. Gotta learn to guard without fouling. All love haha.”
John Denton: .@OrlandoMagic C Mo Bamba on finishing a dunk over @sixers C Joel Embiid: "I winked at (Embiid), I winked at him, and I should have told him, `Welcome to the league.'" He was referring to the dunk that Embiid got over him earlier in the summer and posted on social media channels.
The Knicks rookie’s debut included a couple highlight alley-oop jams and a heated exchange with Wizards grumpy veteran Morris, who was ejected following two technical fouls because he couldn’t get over something Robinson called him. “This stupid ass rookie was talking too much. And obviously, I didn’t like what he said,” Morris complained Monday after the Knicks beat the Wizards in overtime of their preseason opener, 124-121.
Candace Buckner: Morris was asked if he ever had any interaction with Mitchell Robinson before: “I don’t even know him. I ain’t never really seen him b4. He just checked into the game. I never even guarded him. I didn’t know there was a Mitchell on their team! I didn’t know anything about him.”
“He could have helped his team out tonight if he’d just be quiet. I didn’t say nothing to him,” said Robinson, who finished with six points and seven boards in 17 minutes. “If he would’ve just hushed and continued to play the game, but he wanted to keep going. He got out. We got the win, I kept playing.”
“Yeah, that was awesome. You don't instigate it but you don't back down,” Fizdale said. “The kid's tough. Don’t let his slim frame fool you. He's not going to back away. The kid grew up in some tough surroundings. I'm sure he got in some scuffles down there in the Bayou. That's who we are. That's the Knicks DNA. We're going to keep holding on to that. We may not necessarily totally instigate stuff but we're definitely not shying away from stuff.”
Howard laughed off whatever beef there might be at the Wizards media day podium, but when he got a chance to sit down with Chris Miller, he was more frank about what's going on between them. "I like to joke and have fun, but I don't go at other NBA players or NBA vets because I respect all of them because they came before me," Howard told Miller. "[Shaq] said something online about the whole rings situation. He got rings, I'm not in his league and all that stuff. But if that's your only way to come back at all players, then you really don't have too much to say."
"I think it's a little insecurity on his part because people call him 'Superman' and they call me 'Superman.' But if I'm an older guy and it's younger players that are being compared to me and they have that same nickname, I want to feel good about it."
Ben Axelrod: Tristan Thompson: “We’re still 4-time Eastern Conference champions, so until you take us down from that, teams ain’t got much to say. Boston, Philly, they ain’t got much to say. Boston had homecourt Game 7 and lost. Philly, you guys almost got swept. Toronto - we know that story”
May 20, 2022 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive teams: First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart Second team: Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams III
Bobby Marks: Robert Williams has a $223,215 bonus as part of his rookie extension. However, because Williams is still in the fourth year of his rookie scale contract, the bonus is not earned. The bonus is now deemed likely and his cap hit for 2022-23 is adjusted to $10,937,502.
Melissa Rohlin: Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) has started to do various light individual on-court activities and will be re-evaluated in one week. Andre Iguodala (disc injury in his neck) continues to show progress and an update will come when he’s cleared to practice.
May 20, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.