Damian Lillard explains why he waved goodbye to Russell Westbrook after hitting series-winning shot
The Trail Blazers needed just five games to handle the Thunder, and Lillard was a big reason why
Damian Lillard ensured that the trend continued with and ice cold game-winner on Tuesday night. He had 50 points in the Blazers' Game 5 win, but the last three are what people are talking about, and for good reason. After he hit the shot to end the game and series, Dame looked across the court and waved goodbye to the Thunder. In his postgame press conference, Lillard explained why, highlighting that it was a response to how OKC's players acted after their only win.
"The series was over, that was it," Lillard said. "I was just waving goodbye to 'em. After Game 3, Dennis Schroder was out there pointing to his wrist, they was out there doing all these celebrations and doing all this stuff and we kept our composure.
"And after one win that was what they decided to do and we was just like 'OK, what we want to do is win four games. And when we win those four games, there's not gonna be nothing to talk about.' So that's what that was."
At one point two years ago, Lillard was touting Westbrook as the league's MVP. We are very, very far from that now. The rivalry between the two hit a new level in 2016 when Westbrook kicked a ball away from Lillard mid-game.
While this may not have led to some explosive beef, it definitely planted a seed. In January, that seed sprouted into a full-blown toxic plant, when Westbrook yelled at Lillard that he'd been "busting that a-- for years."
With that in mind, Westbrook came into this series with something to prove. Unfortunately for him, all he really proved is that he'll still shoot under any circumstances. Westbrook had 22.8 points per game, but shot a forgettable 36 percent from the field.
His beef with Lillard has bled to the rest of the Thunder, with Paul George actually criticizing Lillard's shot selection last night as Westbrook sat next to him.
The reality is that Lillard was shooting 30-foot logo shots all series. He opened up Game 1 with one.
In the Thunder's one win in the series, they made sure Dame heard it. Westbrook rocked the baby and Schroder pointed at his wrist, as Lillard noted in his post-game press conference.
Ultimately, the series turned out to be an embarrassment for Westbrook. Doing that after one win and losing the following two games isn't a great look. Meanwhile, the Blazers are on to the second round, as Lillard tries to to carry them to a conference final for the first time since 2000.
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