Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley have engaged in a verbal back-and-forth following Houston's 118-113 overtime victory on Sunday.
During the game, Lillard fouled out after his off arm appeared to make light contact with Beverley during a drive, contact that prompted Beverley to launch himself to the court. Earlier in the game, the two players exchanged light pushes after Beverley walked into Lillard while requesting a video review.
After the game, Lillard offered these thoughts to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com...
"It's irritating," Lillard told CSNNW.com. "But I was locked into the game to be one hundred percent honest with you. It's irritating that he's doing all that little stuff like flopping, tying you up and all that for the whole game. But I don't really get caught up in that. It's whatever."
Lillard also had this to say in videotaped comments.
"You've got somebody out there who wants to try to be bumping and doing little slick stuff. I'm not going to buy into it but I'm almost not going to let it fly. I'm going to say something. That's what he does. I don't really care for that. I'm not just going to let somebody be all in my chest and do all this extra stuff. That's not basketball. Everybody knows what he does to get under people's skin."
"Damian Lillard whines. So, 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. That's what I do. I don't go out there and try to hack people. I don't go out there and do that. Prior to this game he was shooting 29 percent against me. That's a credit to our team defense and what we're doing. We don't go out there and try to hurt people, we don't go out there and try to hack people. We go out there and be aggressive on defense and that's what gets us stops.
"I don't care what he says. You're a grown man. You're a professional basketball player - professional first. He fouled out before I did.
"You always push and shove, and that's basketball. I don't know how other people were raised, but that's basketball. That's how you grew up playing, battling. You get pushed down. You get back up. You battle the next guy. You should enjoy the competition. No one is going out there to hurt someone, and I was kind of offended the way that he was talking. I'm a positive person. I usually don't say anything about anything, but if I feel that something is not right, I'm definitely going to mention about it. And the things that he was saying yesterday really bothered me. I played against all the other top point guards, all the other All-Star point guards, and it was nothing but praise. 'Patrick pushes me, Patrick plays hard, he forces me to better my game. Patrick does this.' He whines and says that I'm pushing and all that. I just wanted to get that off my chest."
Lillard was shooting 15-44 (34.1 percent) against the Rockets entering Sunday's action. He scored 21 points (on 7-for-13 shooting) and had four assists against seven turnovers in the loss.
Beverley, a 2009 second-round pick, was involved in a play in which Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook suffered a knee injury during the 2013 playoffs. Beverley was also involved in an exchange earlier this year with Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, in which he earned a technical foul for standing over Cousins after he suffered an ankle injury. The next time the two players faced each other, Cousins punched Beverley in the stomach, earning a suspension.
Lillard was also goaded into a minor on-court incident with Corey Brewer during a recent victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lillard took exception to Brewer's attempt to hold him down.
"It got to the point where I was like, 'Come on, man, get off me'," Lillard continued. "I'm not going to let nobody just play with me like that. He had to get off me."
The Blazers and Rockets are projected to face each other in the first round of the 2014 playoffs by a number of computer models.
As of 6 p.m. PT, the NBA has not issued any warnings or fines for flopping in relation to Sunday night's game.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter