Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said Friday there's no real-life bad blood with Oklahoma City Thunder counterpart Russell Westbrook despite some on-court drama throughout their head-to-head meeting during the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs.
Lillard explained during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show (via Cody Taylor of ThunderWire) any issues can be attributed to the players' competitive fire.
"Now that the series is over, it was funny to me that people wanted to make it like such a negative thing between us," he said. "Me and Russ are really cool off of the court. But when we get on the court, I don't expect anything else from him and he doesn't expect anything else from me. There's no dislike."
Although the series between OKC and Portland was a short one, with Lillard hitting a game-winning, series-clinching three at the buzzer in Game 5 to end the Thunder's season, there was still plenty of tension between the sides.
Perhaps the most notable moment was Oklahoma City point guard Dennis Schroder imitating Lillard's "Dame Time" celebration late in the Thunder's only win in Game 3.
The Blazers' leading scorer shrugged it all off during his interview on The Dan Patrick Show:
"I'm just telling you what the truth is. On the court, I'll talk trash to [Westbrook] and he'll talk trash to me. He rocked the baby and Dennis Schroder tapped his wrist [imitating Dame Time] and all of that stuff [but] that's all trash talk; that's not dislike. Everyone was trying to turn it into us not liking each other and all of that stuff when we're actually cool. Now that the series is over, I'm just making that clear."
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Of course, it's all a moot point now.
The Thunder are heading into what could become an offseason of change as the franchise decides what alterations are needed to move the team, which has failed to advance beyond the first round in any of the last three years, back closer to title contention.