Both point guards were hit with technical fouls for loudly jawing at one another, and Lillard says “it’s always something” when they face off.
The Portland Trail Blazers left Houston with a 117-107 victory, and Westbrook took it upon himself to galvanize the dejected Rockets, who are admittedly “getting rocked right now.”
Per The Athletic:
“Fucking sitting there, talking that shit. Fuck ’em,” Westbrook said, almost preaching to the rest of his teammates who hung their heads as they walked with him to the room.
A meeting that was originally called by (Mike) D’Antoni turned into one that was led by Westbrook. Despite having been with the team for less than six months, it was Westbrook who spoke up and addressed the team. Not to chastise or scold anyone, but more of a call to action. A call to return to Rockets basketball, to defend better, to play with more energy and effort, and more importantly, to get everyone on the same page.
“You’re gonna have nights like tonight where people got things to say after,” (Austin) Rivers told The Athletic. “Nothing negative, I can really honestly say that. Everything was positive. Russell really led the way. Russell was the only one who really talked. He just kind of addressed the team and things we have to do better as a unit, as a whole. And everybody agreed with him, so it was a good talk.”
Four minutes into the fourth quarter, with the Blazers up by 14, Westbrook had Lillard in the post—a commonplace for Westbrook against smaller defenders, but especially for Lillard. Lillard fouled him, yanking Westbrook on the arm. “A foul is a bucket,” Westbrook said shaking his head in a bravado. “He can’t guard me.”
“That’s just part of when me and him play against each other,” Lillard said. “It seems like it’s always something.”