Damian Lillard on Chris Paul's Late-Game Layup: 'What's the Point of It?'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2018

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, left, exchanges words with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard after being called for a foul when he knocked Lillard down during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard expressed his dismay Wednesday with Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul's decision to go for a layup rather than dribbling out the clock in the closing seconds of Houston's 121-112 win.

Lillard confronted Paul after the game and described the conversation to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian:

"I just asked him, I said, 'What did you get out of that?' He said, 'Y'all wasn't guarding.' But we got back. There was two guys back. We got back. He was sprinting the court to get the layup and CJ [McCollum] was chasing him. I just felt like in that situation, if you've got to do that to go get the layup, what's the point of it?"

CP3's layup with 12 seconds remaining allowed him to finish with a game-high 37 points to go along with his 11 assists and seven rebounds.

Lillard acknowledged losing the game "fair and square," but suggested he was irked primarily due to a breach of etiquette on Paul's part:

"I think as far as sportsmanship goes and respect, if the roles were reversed, I don't think they would like it. They had two guys up the floor. I think [Shabazz Napier] ran back, I ran back for that reason ... we get two guys back and he pretty much sprinted down the court to get the layup. CJ was chasing him. At that point, you just wonder, like, what is that going to do for you? What was you trying to get right there? And that's what I asked him."

While Paul and the Rockets got the better of the Blazers, Lillard had a strong game in his own right with 29 points, eight assists and five boards.

Portland had been on a three-game winning streak prior to Wednesday's loss, which included victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Houston won its second in a row on the heels of a two-game losing streak, as superstar guard James Harden remains on the shelf with a hamstring injury.

The Rockets are now 2-0 against the Blazers this season, and there may be some bad blood present the next time the teams meet on March 20.

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