The Trail Blazers aren’t having the same kind of success they had last season, but Damian Lillard is still a cold-blooded killer whose ire you don’t want to draw. So when D’Angelo Russell got in his face during a confrontation that drew double technical fouls midway through the third quarter in Tuesday night’s game, he was barking up the wrong tree.
Lillard led a Blazers rally to turn the contest into a blowout, and he laid out exactly why after the game.
He poked the bear, and you see what happened the rest of the game.
How did that ignite you afterward?
I don’t know what made him feel like that would be accepted, like I wouldn’t take exception to that. I took it as a challenge; I was struggling shooting the ball, and I was getting good looks, and maybe he felt like that was because of him, or whatever… I got a little more aggressive, and our team got more aggressive, and we pulled it off.
For various reasons — not least of which is him blowing up Nick Young’s spot with Iggy Azalea — Russell doesn’t exactly command the respect of players around the league. He’s still young, but he’s also a cocksure sort of player, and when he tries to show up competitors, he’s going to get smacked in more ways than one until he can back it up.