Blazers rookie Damian Lillard continued his impressive start to the season, this time draining the game-winning shot from beyond three-point distance to give his team the 95-94 home victory over the Hornets.
It would have been a shame for Portland to waste its win against the Spurs on Thursday by giving one away against New Orleans, but after seeing a 12-point fourth quarter lead disappear entirely, that was a very real possibility.
It was all tied at 92 with 4.2 seconds remaining, with the Blazers taking the ball out of bounds. Lillard inbounded to Luke Babbitt, who handed it back to Lillard behind the three-point arc as the clock began to wind down.
Lillard used Babbitt’s screen, but Ryan Anderson stepped out to contest, yet somehow Lillard was able to get a sight line to the basket, before launching the shot attempt over Anderson that looked good as soon as it left his hands.
This wasn’t one of Lillard’s better games, as he finished with just 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting, while Anderson led all scorers with 26 points. But the rookie won out on the night’s final meaningful play, and it resulted in the third straight win for the Blazers.
As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose
Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.
Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.
However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Butler: "I don’t understand why everybody wants to find a problem with me and Derrick. Let us be the fierce, (expletive) competitors we are"
Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.
This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.
But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.
For now, however, tounges are wagging.
Report: No criminal charges to be filed against Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes will NOT be charged with a crime for allegedly attacking Derek Fisher over the weekend … the Redondo Beach Police Department tells TMZ Sports.
Cops tell us they did respond to an incident and a police report was filed regarding the altercation — but officers say the case “was reviewed and there is no basis for criminal charges.” As we previously reported, a witness at the home says Barnes struck Fisher in the face and a fight ensued. However, the NY Post is reporting that Fisher did not want to pursue charges against Barnes.
Fisher has been seeing Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife and star of the “Basketball Wives” reality series — for several months, and was over at her house in the South Bay of Los Angeles Saturday night, along with other friends. Barnes said he got a call from one of his two sons, who “looked distressed” that Fisher was over, and that caused Barnes to drive over to the house. Once he arrived an altercation broke out between the two men, with Barnes allegedly texting a friend that he beat up Fisher and spat in his wife’s face. That’s not going to scar the young boy any further, well done.
If Barnes did this as described (and we don’t know the details), the NBA has to look hard at this. Barnes does not get to decide for a woman he is no longer seeing who she can and cannot see, and who she has over to her home. She is not property. That is the level of control seen in domestic abuse situations, and the league can’t sit back and tolerate it.