Oklahoma City Thunder All Stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook both underwent surgeries on Tuesday after playing injured during their brief playoff run.
According to ESPN, George had surgery on a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder and is expected to miss at least the start of preseason training camp. Additionally, the 29-year old forward will have surgery on a small labrum tear in his left shoulder in the coming weeks.
Westbrook underwent two procedures on Tuesday - one for a torn ligament in a finger on his left hand and the other, an elective arthroscopic procedure on his right knee. He will reportedly be ready to resume basketball activities in a few weeks.
ESPN reports that both George and Westbrook played with the injuries throughout the finals of the regular season, as they fell to sixth in the Western Conference. As we know, Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers eliminated OKC in just five games in the opening round of the playoffs.
Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the third straight season this year with 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game. Meanwhile, George ranked second in the league with 28 points per game to go along with 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a league-best 2.2 steals per game.
Damian Lillard Says No Bad Blood With Westbrook: “We’re Actually Cool”
“Me and Russ are really cool off of the court.”
The first-round series between the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder ultimately turned out to be more about Damian Lillard vs Russell Westbrook, as the two All Star point guards engaged in plenty of trash talk throughout the series. As we know, Lillard won the battle, and the war, as the Blazers eliminated OKC in five games.
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Following the series, Lillard took to instagram with what was clearly a parting shot at his counterpart. The post, which contained several images from Game 5, features the following quote from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.”
“It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the ambitious seeker of fortune.”
Despite the on-court trash-talk and the jabs on social media, Lillard says he and Westbrook are “really cool off the court.”
During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday, Dame cleared the air.
“Now that the series is over, it was funny to me that people wanted to make it like such a negative thing between us. Me and Russ are really cool off of the court. But when we get on the court, I don’t expect anything else from him and he doesn’t expect anything else from me. There’s no dislike.”
“I’m just telling you what the truth is. On the court, I’ll talk trash to him and he’ll talk trash to me. He rocked the baby and Dennis Schroder tapped his wrist [imitating Dame Time] and all of that stuff [but] that’s all trash talk; that’s not dislike. Everyone was trying to turn it into us not liking each other and all of that stuff when we’re actually cool. Now that the series is over, I’m just making that clear.”
Check out his full comments in the video embedded below.
Russell Westbrook Unfazed After Series Against Lillard: "It Doesn’t Change Much"
"If you want to determine my career and what I've done over two, three games, you go ahead."
The Oklahoma City Thunder players and coaches met with the media for the final time this season on Thursday, following their 3-1 first-round series loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to ESPN.com's Royce Young, Russell Westbrook spoke for nearly 17 minutes during the exit interview and he touched on a number of topics, including his back-and-forth with Damian Lillard.
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In regards to his on-court battle with the Blazers All Star point guard, and the criticism he has faced since Lillard eliminated the Thunder, Westbrook told reporters (H/T Royce Young):
"It doesn't change much, man, honestly. If you want to determine my career and what I've done over two, three games, you go ahead. That don't mean shit to me. It doesn't. I'm going to wake up, like I told you before, three beautiful kids, I'm going to wake up and smile, be happy, enjoy my life. Doesn't change anything about - talk about if I'm playing bad or who's better, who's not. I know who I am as a person, and that's the biggest thing I can say about myself. I know who I am. I know what I'm able to do. I know my capabilities. I know what I've done. I know what I can and can't do. So I'm okay with that. I'm okay with who I am. I'll just be blessed to wake up every day and enjoy my life. The talk about - I don't even know what talk you're talking about, but whatever that is, you guys can keep talking about it, and I'm going to keep living my life."
Westbrook also spoke about criticism he receives in general, what he hopes to improve upon next season and more. When asked if this offseason will be different than others in the past, Russquipped, "Last offseason I had one kid, this year I have three. No, it won't be the same."
Check out some of his other responses in the tweets embedded below.
Damian Lillard’s Series-Winning Stare Sparks Hilarious Memes
Recapping some of the best memes from Damian Lillard's tranquil Game 5 celebration.
Damian Lillard set the basketball world on fire Tuesday night, as he led the Portland Trail Blazers to a "Gentleman's Sweep" against Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the OKC Thunder.
As you've likely already seen, or heard, Lillard went off for 50 points in Game 5, including a series-clinching 37-footer as time expired.
All the angles of Lillard's epic game-winner and the footage of the crowd at Moda Center erupting, will be entrenched in the minds of Blazers fans and NBA fans alike for a long, long time. Lillard's ultra calm reaction won't soon be forgotten, either.
As video footage and images of the series-clinching shot quickly went viral, so did Dame's stone cold stare down as he was swarmed by his teammates. Naturally, the image went viral and the memes followed.
Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic Chirps Russell Westbrook After Pivotal Game 4
"No extra stuff."
Damian Lillard outdueled Russell Westbrook yet again in Game 4 on Sunday night, as the Portland Trail Blazers picked up a 111-98 victory in OKC to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
After the game, in which Westbrook was 0-7 with just one point in the second half, Blazers' center Jusuf Nurkic took a jab at Westbrook twitter.
Westbrook scored 14 points on 5-of-21 shooting with nine rebounds and seven assists, but he simply could not buy a bucket down the stretch. According to ESPN, the All Star point guard missed his last 10 shots.
"Sometimes you have nights like that," Westbrook said. "That happens sometimes. But it just wasn't good enough for us to get the win."
Meanwhile, Lillard connected on 5-of-7 shots in the third quarter, which allowed the Blazers to take control of the pivotal Game 4.
"I didn't feel the need to get overly aggressive in the first half, once I saw how the game was going," Lillard said. "But then in the third, I felt like that was the time when we needed to hit the gas."
CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 27 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in 19 points with nine rebound. The series now shifts back to Portland on Tuesday night, as Lillard, McCollum and co. look to close out the series in Game 5.
Russell Westbrook’s Top 10 Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 PEs
A look back at Westbrook's best Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 PEs of the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder All Star point guard Russell Westbrook laced up a plethora of player exclusive colorways of his Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 signature sneaker this year, many of which served as a portal to the '90s.
Video games, tv shows, athletes and toys all played a part in Westbrook's best PEs, as well as the special edition sneaker boxes that the kicks were housed in.
While we wait to see what kicks he breaks out for the pivotal Game 3, scroll through the list below as we look back on 10(+) of the craziest Why Not Zer0.2 PEs shared by Jordan Brand Promo PE designer, Kelsey Amy.
Russell Westbrook showed up to the TD Garden in Boston back in February toting a special edition "Super Soaker" colorway of the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2, which remains one of the best PEs of the NBA season.
The kicks even came housed in a custom box that perfectly mirrored the way the classic '90s water guns were packaged.
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A fitting tribute for OKC's Valentine's Day game, Westbrook donned a teddy bear themed Why Not Zer0.2 PE as the Thunder took on the Pelicans in NOLA.
The kicks came equipped with a fuzzy brown upper, accompanied by festive red detailing, a Valentine's card hang tag, and a box of chocolates on the insole. Tying the theme together, the exclusive V-Day PE also came housed in a heart shaped box.