The Los Angeles Clippers took down the Portland Trail Blazers, 122-117, in a game that had major implications in the race for the 8 and 9 seeds in the Western Conference on Saturday afternoon. It was a scintillating game, one in which the Clippers were shorthanded and rested Paul George down the stretch but still managed to come out on top, in large part because the usually reliable Damian Lillard missed a pair of free throws down the stretch while the Blazers were down by one.
Lillard rarely ever misses free throws like that, but as the second one hit the rim and fell to the ground, one person in particular was quite happy: Clippers guard and noted agitator Patrick Beverley. While he did not play due to a calf injury, Beverley had quite the reaction to Lillard missing his free throws.
Pat Beverley yelling "It's Dame Time" after Dame missed two crucial free throws pic.twitter.com/HOONThEPia
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 8, 2020
While it’s unclear if this sparked Beverley’s reaction, Lillard did seem to challenge him after hitting a three earlier in the game.
— Ryan Titus (@blazers_palace) August 8, 2020
Lillard is one of the league’s more proud players, so it’s no surprise that he wasn’t a big fan with what Beverley had going on. After the game, Lillard was asked about this, and while he took the reaction as a sign of respect, he speculated that Beverley had his reaction because he saw “first-hand” what Lillard is capable of during his second year in the league, when Lillard eliminated Beverley’s Rockets from the playoffs with a buzzer-beater three.
Lillard response to this
"To me that just shows what they expect from me down the stretch…He saw it first hand when I was a 2nd year player and he was in Houston. I'm sure he has a great memory of that" #RipCity https://t.co/GhSIri62Q4 pic.twitter.com/TnQSlJRGff
— Orlando Sanchez (@orlandokgw) August 8, 2020
Lillard also made it a point to mention his other buzzer-beater that won a series: the one from last postseason, which eliminated George’s Thunder and saw the All-Star wing to request a trade that summer. Oklahoma City eventually sent him to the Clippers as a result, and the two had a bit of a back-and-forth over whether Lillard took a “bad shot.”
Damian Lillard on the antics of Patrick Beverly and Paul George down the stretch of today’s game. Lillard unloads. pic.twitter.com/NFgEiiVHVi
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 8, 2020
Things eventually spilled into the Instagram comment section. Bleacher Report posted an image that included Lillard’s quote. Soon after that, Beverley, George, and Lillard began commenting, with Lillard accusing George of “running from the grind.”
So far, the bubble hasn’t featured too much beef to this extent, but it’s obvious that these three dudes really want to get back onto the floor with one another — the only way that can happen, though, is if the Blazers get the 8-seed and then make a run to the conference finals, with the Clippers doing the same from the 2-seed.