Russell Westbrook plays with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, something that can make the former league MVP come off as awfully chilly to opposing players. Still, even by the lofty standard set by Russ, it seems like he really does not like a number of dudes on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Westbrook chiefly got into it, at one point or another during Tuesday night’s 123-114 Thunder win, with three members of the Blazers: Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, and Evan Turner. The easiest one to explain is Turner, who did Westbrook’s signature Rock The Baby celebration at one point during the game. It led to a one-liner from Westbrook that made the media laugh, which he was apparently quite proud of.
Westbrook and Lillard did a little jawing with one another while the latter was at the free throw line. It came on the heels of a gigantic dunk by the Thunder star, who chirped with Lillard on the following Blazers possession.
Without saying what was going on for sure, it did look like Paul George might have said something to Westbrook about all of this — watch him in the background as Lillard is shooting his second free throw. Anyway, Lillard told the press after the game what was going on between the two: Westbrook apparently told him ‘shoot your free throws, the game is over anyways,” to which Lillard claims he replied “ain’t sh*t over when I’m out here, we are going to see.”
Then, this happened, per Jason Quick of The Athletic:
“Walking down the court he was like, ‘You know this is how we do (it),”’ Lillard said. “I respect you, you respect me. That’s all it was. I mean, he know. He know. He knows I’m not one of those people that …(there) ain’t no fear. I’m going to come at you the same way you come at me. And he know that. Where he come from (Los Angeles) and where I come from (Oakland), that’s regular.”
As Westbrook was in Lillard’s ear in the final seconds, Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic — who had his own verbal battles with Westbrook on Tuesday — took umbrage. He rushed to Lillard’s side and tried to separate the two, before Lillard held him back and assured him everything was fine.
“I mean, Russ is a good player, but he is just in his feelings too much,” Nurkic said. “I like him, he’s a good player, plays with passion. But he was saying some stuff that wasn’t making sense.”
To wrap up the Lillard portion of the program, he posted this to Instagram after the game.
Pretty good! Onto Nurkic, Westbrook isn’t much of a fan of his, either. During Westbrook’s press availability, he was asked about Nurkic, and let it be known under his breath that he thinks the Blazers center is a “clown.”
There was some chirping between the two during the game, including this moment out of Westbrook in which he scored on the big man and then let him hear it…
…and this block by Nurkic, which led to both dudes laughing at each other.
Things didn’t ends with Westbrook’s media availability, though. That video in which he called Nurkic a clown eventually got quote tweeted by Portland’s center, who busted out the “Westbrick” nickname that Russ has had throughout his NBA career.
I don’t know about you, but after all of this, there is no way on earth I am missing either Portland’s trip to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11 or the Thunder’s trip to the Pacific Northwest on March 7.