Damian Lillard ‘really cool’ with Russell Westbrook off the court
The Portland Trail Blazers upended the the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to move on to the Western Conference semifinals, but the short-lived series nevertheless featured plenty of drama and trash talk.
To no surprise, the tension primarily was spawned to some degree by the two teams’ resident alpha males, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.
To hear it from Lillard, though, there is no bad blood between himself and Westbrook. Instead, the Trail Blazers star insists any evidence of such is simply representative of the two superstars’ ultra-competitive natures.
Appearing Friday on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Lillard explained how two players can battle it out over the course of a playoff series and still be able leave any residual animosity on the court.
“Now that the series is over, it was funny to me that people wanted to make it like such a negative thing between us,” Lillard said. “Me and Russ are really cool off of the court. But when we get on the court, I don’t expect anything else from him and he doesn’t expect anything else from me. There’s no dislike.
“… Everyone was trying to turn it into us not liking each other and all of that stuff when we’re actually cool. Now that the series is over, I’m just making that clear.”
NBA players are well-known for being able to leave in-game beefs on the court and remain friends away from the game. That appears to be the case with Lillard and Westbrook, although the cold-blooded manner in which the former ousted the latter’s squad with a buzzer-beater for the ages, odds are Westbrook will feel that sting long into the offseason.