Damian Lillard Is Latest NBA Player to Feud with Patrick Beverley

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

Dec 12, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley (2) and Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) speak with referee Leroy Richardson (20) during the fourth quarter of the game at the Moda Center. The Blazers won the game 111-104. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Whether in high school, college or even pickup games, we all know the perpetually annoying defender who refuses to get out of your face or back down in general.

It's a lot more fun to have that guy on your team than it is to go against him.

In the NBA, it looks like Patrick Beverley is rapidly becoming that guy. And according to ProBasketballTalk's Dan Feldman, a feud is developing between the Houston Rockets' pesky point guard and All-Star Damian Lillard.

Following Sunday's 118-113 overtime loss to the Rockets, Lillard said, via Comcast Sports' Chris Haynes (h/t Feldman):

You’ve got somebody out there that want to try to be bumping and doing little slick stuff. You know what I mean? I’m not going to buy into it, but I’m also not going to just let it fly. I’m going to say something. I mean, that’s what he does. I don’t really care for that, but I’m just not going to let somebody be all in my chest, doing all this extra stuff. That’s not basketball.

Well, if that's not basketball, then Beverley might be out of a job. All of that extra stuff is what he brings to the table.

He defended his style of play on The Matt Thomas Show on SportsTalk 790 in Houston (h/t Feldman):

The way I guard him, the way I guard Steph Curry, the way I guard Chris Paul, the way I guard Goran Dragic. I guard all players the same. I don't look at film on players. I don't look at players' habits. I go out there and impose my will on people and I do what I do, and I'm aggressive on defense.

He then went on to respond directly to Lillard's comments:

Damian Lillard whines. I'm not a big fan of that. I don't go out there and try to start fights with anybody. I go out there and play my game...

...Prior to this game, [Lillard] was shooting 29% against me. That's credit to our team defense. We don't go out there and try to hurt people or hack people. We go out there and be aggressive on defense and that's what gets us stops.

Beverley is definitely helping the Rockets get stops, but he may be making some enemies along the way.

He certainly doesn't have many adoring fans in Oklahoma City, after his attempt to steal the ball from Russell Westbrookwho was on the verge of calling a timeoutresulted in a torn meniscus during last season's playoffs.

He's also gotten under LeBron James' skin, according to Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick:

And DeMarcus Cousins', notes ESPN's Arash Markazi:

I'm sure Bruce Bowen's teammates in San Antonio or Raja Bell's in Phoenix loved having them around. Like Beverley, being a pest was an essential part of their jobs.

That peskiness and defense is one of the reasons Beverley starts over Jeremy Lin. As long as he's doing his job and the Rockets are winning, he won't lose sleep over bugging a few opponents.

It certainly makes for more interesting viewing for us, though. The Trail Blazers won't play the Rockets again this regular season, but as Portland is currently No. 5 in the West and Houston is No. 3, a first-round matchup is possible.

If they end up Nos. 4 and 5, another chapter in Lillard and Beverley's budding rivalry is almost certain to unfold.


Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.