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Blazers’ Damian Lillard Takes Issue With Chris Paul Over Late Game Layup

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Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard is taking issue with the actions of Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, who opted for a layup rather than dribbling out the clock in the closing seconds of Houston’s 121-112 win over Portland.

The two All-Stars had a brief exchange at the conclusion of the game, and Lillard smacked the ball out of Paul’s hands as the conversation ended.

“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?”

Lillard made the comments in a conversation with Joe Freeman of the Oregonian after the game.

“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.”

Despite the losing effort, Lillard player well, posting 29 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the losing effort.

Houston Rockets

Rockets’ Carmelo Anthony Talks Mending Fences with Mike D’Antoni

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While they were often times at odds while both were with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony and head coach Mike D’Antoni have mended their relationship as they embark on a new season with the Houston Rockets.

“Yeah, but you know, in that situation in New York was, like, it happened so fast. And the media blew that situation up. And nobody really know exactly what happened, if anything, between me and Mike D’Antoni,” Anthony said, during an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “At the time, he was at a different point in his life, dealing with what he was dealing with, dealing with New York organization, that team.

I was at a different point in my career. So, I think now we got opportunity to just lay it all out on the table. You know, we talk a long time about kinda where we was as people — as a player, as a coach, at that point in time — the journey from then till now, where we at now and how we’re able to just kinda put that behind us.

And you know, he said something to me like, “You know, everybody deserves a second chance. I hope you give me a second chance.” And it was just good to hear kinda how energetic he was about having me here and being a part of this.”

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Rockets’ Marquese Chriss Happy With Defined Role

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Houston Rockets young forward Marquese Chriss is happy to be on a new team after struggling for his first two years playing for the Phoenix Suns when his lack of production and/or consistency forced the Suns to move on from the former lottery draft pick.

Chriss is embracing his defined role in Houston, and seems to be fitting in just fine, strongly hinting that he didn’t have the same clarity in Phoenix.

“The difference is they know what they want me to do” Chriss said, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. “They’re asking me to do a specific job. I’m trying to do it to the best of my ability. There really is no question about what they want my role to be. They made it straightforward to me when I first got traded here. I embraced it and I’m working to do it as best as I can.”

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has been impressed with Chriss so far.

“So athletic, he can go fast without looking like he’s going fast” D’Antoni said. “He’s got a lot of talent. We need certain things and I think he can give it to us. I think he’s going to be a force. We didn’t do our pick-and-rolls great, but he’s one guy you can lob to. He can block shots at the rim. He gives you another athlete on the floor.”

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Rockets’ Carmelo Anthony Looking to Have Fun This Season

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Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony will be entering his 16th season in the NBA and the Rockets are hoping that Anthony is the missing piece that helps push them over the top for an NBA Championship.

Anthony, who was brought in this offseason after reaching a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks who acquired him from the Oklahoma City Thunder, is looking to have fun this upcoming season as he joins a promising Rockets team.

“Just enjoy the game and play basketball … I’ve been doing it for a long time,” Anthony said, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. “I still know how to do it. I’ve just got to make it fun. The game just has to be fun.”

Anthony will play once again for head coach Mike D’Antoni, who coached him when the two were together with the New York Knicks several years back.

“He’s a great basketball player, so we just try to make it optimal for him and us,” D’Antoni said. “It’s always a little bit of a challenge, but if you had asked me the same question (last year) about James and Chris I would have said the same thing: ‘Well, it looks good. I’m excited.’ So same thing with him.”

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