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.
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Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni Believes Carmelo Anthony ‘better fit’ with Rockets than Knicks
The Houston Rockets finally signed forward Carmelo Anthony, after a lengthy process that involved a trade, a buyout, tons of speculation, and some financial maneuvering, inking the veteran to a deal on Monday.
Many may recall that Anthony played for Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antonio before, when the two were in New York with the Knicks, and that didn’t end well, with D’Antoni exiting amid rumors of a rift with Anthony.
D’Antoni is once again at the helm, but this time, he believes that things will be better because he thinks Anthony is a “better fit” for the Rockets than he was with the Knicks, and he doesn’t forsee any issues in coaching the All-Star.
“In New York, when [the Knicks] gave away half the team [to the Nuggets in the 2011 trade for Anthony] and everybody expected us to win a championship, it really wasn’t realistic,” D’Antoni said, according to USA Today Sports. “It put a lot of pressure on everybody, and it kind of burst the pipes.
“I think this is totally different. We’ve got a team that is a whole bunch of veterans that really, we’ve got one thing in mind, and that’s to win a championship, and we have the possibility.”
Despite the rumors of a rift, D’Antoni admitted that Anthony “never had a blow-up” in New York while also referencing coaching Anthony with USA Basketball.
“We never had a blow-up before, so it’s not he wanted to play a certain way and I kind of wanted to coach another way,” D’Antoni said. “Back then [in New York], there wasn’t even analytics. I was going by my gut, and he was going by [his] gut, and it’s just, you know — styles clash.
“And I think now, things have changed and everybody is playing the same way. I think it’s a lot better fit and I think we have a really good chance to be really good.”
Years later, a now 34-year olf Anthony will have a different role than he did, back then, with the Knicks when he had much more pressure, many more expectations, and a lot more pressure.
“The more talent you can have, the better the guys are, the better the team is going to be,” D’Antoni said. “Look at Golden State, how they had all those guys and you fit in [Kevin] Durant. I mean if you are committed to a certain style, and everybody is committed to the team, it works itself out.”
D’Antoni was mum on if Anthony would be a starter or come off the bench in Houston.
“I don’t know, and that’s something that we’ll have to work out,” he said. “All I know is that we’ll try different combos — preseason, early season, and the good thing is that with analytics and with gut feelings and coaches and players, we’ll figure out what is the best way to play.
“And again, if everybody is on board, then it’ll be, ‘Hey, this is where we’re the best. This is how we can win the championship.’ I don’t know yet, but we’ll make sure we get it right as good as we can.”
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Capela averaged 13.9 ppg and 10.8 rbg last season for Houston.
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