'I earned my spot'- Lillard fires back in All-Star war of words with Russell Westbrook

Meanwhile Paul George has hinted he’ll stay at Oklahoma City Thunder after Westbrook’s All-Star comments.

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS guard Damien Lillard had a pop back at Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook after his comments on Paul George’s All-Star snub.

Westbrook took a shot at Lillard on Tuesday in the wake of George’s ommision from the All-Star team, calling the decision “outrageous” and said some players “complain about getting snubbed until they get in.”

Lillard fired back at Westbrook before last night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I respect Russ a lot, so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that,” Lillard said.

“Because he’s played against me, he’s played against our team, he knows what I’ve accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career.

“So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year. And that’s pretty much what it is: I earned my spot.”

Soon-to-be free agent Paul George told ESPN yesterday it was “awesome” to get his Thunder team-mate’s support after he was overlooked.

George, who is out of contract in July, noted Westbrook is making his future free-agency decision “easier” to make.

“Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make, is the character Russ has,” George said. “A stand-up guy, and he has his teammate’s back.

“We were actually joking before he went up there, and I’m like, ‘Nah, Russ, man, just let it go, let it go Russ. It is what it is, I wasn’t picked,’ and he was like, ‘Nah, man, P, that’s messed up. I’m gonna tell them something about that,’” George said.

“It was awesome for a teammate to have your back and to stand up,” he said. “And to be honest, he should be a starter. He’s been the MVP, been the best player at his position. He should’ve been a starter, but that’s another story. But the fact Russ had my back, that’s my guy forever, and it’s more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”

On the court, Boston Celtics snapped their four-game losing streak in the NBA with a 113-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers last night.

Boston defeated the Clippers by 113-102 to move to 34-14 for the season with 20 points from star guard Kyrie Irving and 15 points from four different players.

For the Celtics, it was a matter of putting a complete performance together. During the four-game losing skid, Boston had bad quarters seemingly every night. Sometimes they would not come out of the half well, others they didn’t finish.

Boston started well midweek with a 25-22 lead after the first quarter and came out strong in the second half with a 29-22 third quarter, and they played more than well enough to close it out.

The Celtics assisted on 25 of 39 made field goals and shot 95.5 per cent from the free-throw line.

“We have a resilient group,” Irving told ESPN after the game. “Coach said we have to do something unique tonight and that’s what the great teams do, and I feel like we’re trending in the right direction.”

Ximo Pierto / YouTube

The Detroit Pistons fell to the Utah Jazz 98-95 in overtime but it was not Andre Drummond’s fault. The 24-year-old center scored 30 points, added 24 rebounds and tallied six blocks, four assists and three steals.

Ben Simmons led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 115-101 win over the Chicago Bulls with the fifth triple-double of his young career. The rookie scored 19 points while grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing out 14 assists.

Damian Lillard insists he earned his All-Star spot and it is hard to argue with him after his performance on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers guard scored a game-high 31 points in Portland’s 123-114 win over the Jimmy Butler-less Minnesota Timberwolves.

Grizzlies forward Myke Henry played 22 minutes in Memphis’ 108-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, but he had zero points on 0-for-seven shooting while going 0 for four from beyond the arc.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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