Patrick Beverley

Damian Lillard, Paul George have beef after late missed free throws

Damian Lillard, Paul George have beef after late missed free throws

Oakland native Damian Lillard isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially when criticism is thrown his way.

The normally clutch Lillard, who has ended multiple NBA playoff series with a game-winning shot, missed two key free throws late in the Portland Trail Blazers’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

Patrick Beverly, who himself is famous for mixing it up with opposing point guards, had some words for Lillard from the sideline.

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Beverly was a member of the Houston Rockets team Lillard sent home in the first round of 2014 NBA Playoffs, and Clippers star Paul George was the man contesting Lillard on his buzzer-beater that eliminated George and the Oklahoma City Thunder from the postseason last spring. Lillard brought both of them up during his postgame interview with TNT’s Taylor Rooks, and George clapped back in the comment section.

George and the Clippers have a playoff spot clinched and currently would be the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, while Lillard’s Trail Blazers are 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot.

As with many NBA beefs in recent years, the discourse continued in the comment section.

George also posted a message on his Instagram story addressing the back-and-forth.

[RELATED: Lillard wanted name of Oakland's Oscar Grant on jersey]

George, a six-time All-Star, suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg during a 2014 Team USA scrimmage in preparation for the FIBA World Cup, causing him to miss most of the 2014-15 regular season.

Lillard’s rare failure in the clutch benefited the Kings, as a win by the Trail Blazers would have eliminated Sacramento from postseason contention. The Kings currently are two full games behind Portland for the ninth spot in the West, with three games remaining before the playoff field is solidified.

Hopefully for NBA fans everywhere (except in Sacramento) Lillard and the Trail Blazers find a way into the postseason so we can get another chance to see him go up against Beverly, George and the Clippers.

Pat Beverley picks Damian Lillard, not Steph Curry, as biggest challenge

Pat Beverley picks Damian Lillard, not Steph Curry, as biggest challenge

Warriors superstar Steph Curry is not the toughest assignment for LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.

We know this because of the following back-and-forth on "The JJ Redick Podcast" last week:

Redick: "Who is the guy you go against that you feel like, 'All right, this is going to be a challenge tonight.' Who is the guy?"

Beverley: "I say Dame (Damian Lillard). I give it to him. Dame is one of the reasons I went into the weight room and I told my guys, 'Hey, I gotta get faster lateral. I don't feel like I'm fast. I can't keep up with the speed right now. I don't know if I need to lose weight, I don't know if I need to get stronger, I don't know if I need to hire a new f--king team, but I need to get f--king faster.' "

Redick: "When Steph won those back-to-back MVPs and the Warriors were unbelievable, I feel like there was chatter about Dame being 'Steph Light.' Not a 'Poor man's Steph' because he was way better than that. I don't think you can make that argument now. Dame is his own problem."

We aren't here to say Beverley is crazy, as Dame is incredible. If Pat Bev says he's the toughest guy to guard, who are we to say he's wrong.

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But that doesn't mean we will pass up on the opportunity to remind everybody what happened during the 2019 Western Conference finals when the Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers:

Curry: 36.5 points, 7.3 assists, 46.9 percent overall, 42.6 percent 3s
Lillard: 22.3 points, 8.5 assists, 37.1 percent overall, 36.8 percent 3s

Also, Steph provided an awesome answer last April when asked how he deals with Beverley's physical style.

"Antics and all that type of stuff -- likely to happen. Nothing distracts me from playing basketball, he said. "Historically speaking, it hasn't worked."

The numbers support that claim.

[RELATED: Beverley explains why he doesn't talk any trash to Curry]

Lastly, although Beverley didn't name the two-time NBA MVP when asked the specific question by Redick, he did show Steph some respect a couple weeks ago.

"Every point guard I play, I'm playing Steph Curry," he said when asked about his approach to the "seeding games" in the Orlando bubble.

Much better answer, Mr. Beverley.

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Patrick Beverley using Steph Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors as motivation

Patrick Beverley using Steph Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors as motivation

The Clippers are one of the favorites to win the championship when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes later this month.

Their quest begins July 30 when they face off against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first of eight "seeding games" on the schedule before the playoffs begin.

How is Clippers guard Patrick Beverley approaching the "bubble" in Orlando? Is he focused on any specific opponent?

"I'm treating everybody the same. Every team I play, I'm playing it like we are playing Golden State when they had Kevin Durant," he recently told Dragonfly Jonez of Whistle. "Every point guard I play, I'm playing Steph Curry."

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So Beverley -- a two-time All-Defensive selection -- is adopting the mindset that every team the Clippers face arguably is the greatest of all time, and that his one-on-one matchup is against the player many consider the second best point guard ever.

[RELATED: Steph a 'liability' on defense? Beverley offers up a reminder]

It's smart to think this way because the circumstances when it comes to actually playing games will be unprecedented. Taking the court in small gyms without any fans is going to be downright strange, and some motivation will need to be manufactured.

While plenty of Warriors fans view Beverley as an antagonist who they love to root against, they should remember the respect he bestowed upon Steph, KD and the Dubs with this comment.

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