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No Slight Intended, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook Have Mutual Respect

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Damian Lillard spoke with The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman about his interaction with Russell Westbrook at last month’s All-Star Game.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Last month’s NBA All-Star Game is in the past, and it appears that Russell Westbrook’s distaste for Damian Lillard’s invitation to the festivities is also history. The Thunder’s leading guard made it clear that he was upset with Paul George’s absence from the All-Star Game, but it appears that Westbrook’s comments directly after his teammate’s snubbing had little to do with Lillard.

Westbrook had this to say in January after learning that George was left out of the All-Star Game:

At the time it appeared that a portion of Westbrook’s complaints were directed at Lillard, but that theory was disputed by Lillard himself on Friday. With the Thunder in town to face the Blazers tonight, Lillard spoke to The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman about his interaction with Westbrook in Los Angeles last month.

“He was the first guy I saw,” Lillard said. “As soon as he came in, we made eye contact, we both laughed. He was like, ‘Man, you know we’re better than that.’ I said, ‘I know.’ I said, ‘But you know I take exception to everything.’ We literally laughed about it.”

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“It wasn’t a big deal,” Lillard said. “Me and Russ have always had respect for each other.”

Lillard went on to explain to Freeman how he was never truly worried about Westbrook being upset with his selection:

“I don’t feel like I ever complained about not making it, I just said I should make it,” Lillard said. “I figured he could have been talking about somebody else. But I think because everybody always goes to what I say, they were automatically going to say it was me. I said it was disappointing because I know that there is a level of respect between me and him.”

Lillard has only faced the Thunder once this season, as he missed the last contest due to a calf injury. Significant playoff implications will be on the line tonight, as Portland will be chasing their third win of the year over Oklahoma City.