“Right now, it doesn’t seem like seeds matter,” said Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP who will try to win a second consecutive championship but with a different team. Leonard added, “I mean, just like tonight, we played Denver. We’re not traveling there or pushing through that altitude that they’re used to playing to at home. Also fans. But the little things like that, you know, just traveling to that different city and trying to establish yourself and see what routine you can make out there, those are pretty much the difficulties of ballgames in the playoffs [that aren’t in the bubble].”
Andy Bernstein: Yeah. I was with you in Maui (when you took the job with the Clippers). Why did you do it? You never really said why you took that job. Jerry West: First of all, Steve Ballmer, if you’re around him, he’s infectious, OK? He’s the most straightforward guy. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s just there. OK? And I’m just too competitive even to this day to sit around. I just am too competitive. And obviously, you know, when someone wants you that feels pretty good. They still feel that you have something to give. And obviously, I wasn’t wanted in some other places. It was just a good feeling. And this place has got a lot of basketball people there. This is one of the most formulative teams in basketball, by far. I wouldn’t trade our top 10 guys for any team member. Not one. I just think we’re that deep.
And how fun would it be for the Clippers and Lakers to play? Would it be for bragging rights of the city? It might be bragging rights for a season if the Clippers would win, but the Lakers’ history and the people they’ve had playing here, that’s never going to go away. But from now on when (the Clippers) have a new building here, they’re going to have their own group of fans. They’re going to be completely different than the Laker fans. And that’s what I think makes life so interesting. Let’s hope the best team wins, and I think we have the best team.
“I cried on my way to practice on the back of the bus, man,” Beverley told ESPN. “It makes me just want to hurry up and win my championship — understanding that I have to go through every process and phase [to get] that while being fortunate to be out here with my teammates — and then get back home to my homies, get back to my friends. “I am tired of losing people. You know? It hits home for me. I have to deal with the reality when I get back, [but until then] comforting my friends, being a leader right here, being a leader of my crew back home in Chicago.”
“I cried on my way to practice on the back of the bus, man,” Beverley told ESPN. “It makes me just want to hurry up and win my championship — understanding that I have to go through every process and phase [to get] that while being fortunate to be out here with my teammates — and then get back home to my homies, get back to my friends. “I am tired of losing people. You know? It hits home for me. I have to deal with the reality when I get back, [but until then] comforting my friends, being a leader right here, being a leader of my crew back home in Chicago.”

Paul George, Damian Lillard clear the air

Before things got any worse, Paul George wanted to make sure things didn’t escalate any further. According to Chris Haynes, that’s exactly what George did. “George recently reached out to Damian Lillard to clear the air,” Haynes said. “Explaining that he had no beef, and clarifying that it was just competitive banter on his part.” Despite how upset Lillard seemed at the Clippers, he was willing to hear George out. “Lillard apologized remarks made by one of his family members, but stated why he said what he said after that loss to the Clippers,” Haynes said.

The job Vaughn has done impressed his former mentor, Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I think he’s done a terrific job,” Rivers gushed. “Listen, I coached Jacque in Orlando. He played with me for an entire year, so I’m a big fan of his. He was one of those players — similar to Ty Lue and Sam [Cassell] — that you knew when they retired that they would be coaches. So I hope he gets a good shot here.”
“The buy in from everyone, especially players, is pretty amazing,” says a league executive. He’s talking by phone, from the NBA’s campus in Orlando where players like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. “To watch a whole team, with superstars, walk by and swipe their Magic Bands and have them flash green, which means they filled out symptom surveys that morning, is awesome.” Anyone who has been to Disney knows a Magic Band is a dystopian digital tracking device with a Mickey Mouse logo that you can’t throw away because it is also your room key. Today, it’s a lynch pin of the NBA’s coronavirus strategy, which involves the kind of invasive oversight teams have long sought, andt the Players Association accepts in a pandemic.
Ben Golliver: Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic on Damian Lillard, w/ a callback to Paul George & the 2019 playoffs: “He’s just taking bad shots, right? Simple as that. Luckily for us he makes most of them.”

Storyline: Lillard-George Beef
“Motherfuckers talkin’ shit. They’re still hurtin’, that’s why,” Lillard said as he exited the interview room. He said it more diplomatically during his Zoom press conference, referring to George and the Thunder, and also a game-winner Lillard hit in 2014 against the Rockets, when Beverley played for Houston, which sent Portland to the second round and Beverley’s team home for the summer.
Storyline: Lillard-George Beef
LA Clippers guard Lou Williams, who has been named Sixth Man of the Year three times — including each of the past two seasons — is a finalist for the award yet again, and is joined by teammate Montrezl Harrell and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. Williams and Jamal Crawford are the only three-time recipients of the award.