Dan Feldman

Damian Lillard denounces D’Angelo Russell’s elbowing, says they can meet out back

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Damian Lillard got in D'Angelo Russell‘s face during the Trail Blazers’ win over the Lakers last night?

Why?

Lillard, via CSN Northwest:

Since last game, he has been doing little slick elbows. And I play the game clean. I’m from Oakland. I ain’t with that extra stuff. Nobody can do just what they want to me.

I got called for a foul to start the third quarter for reaching in, but when I reached in, the only reason there was contact is because his elbow came up again. After he blocked my shot, I was walking to my spot and I felt like he went out of his way to get that elbow in there again.

I told him that ain’t going to fly. And I wasn’t interested in anything else that was said after that. We ain’t going to do that on the court, so we’ll be in the back, and whatever happens happens. But it was nothing. He poked the bear, and you see what happened the rest of the game.

There’s a fine line between aggressive and dirty. Perhaps, Russell crossed it. Or maybe Lillard was just frustrated that Portland, in the midst of a disappointing season, was in a tight game with the lowly Lakers.

Either way, exchange – which drew a double-technical – seemed to spark Lillard. From there, he scored 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting and the Trail Blazers outscored the Lakers by 20 to pull away.

DeMarcus Cousins asks reporters whether they want Kings to keep him (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins – who can be both combative and fun with the media – put both traits forward after the Kings’ win over the Pistons last night.

Cousins will reportedly sign a veteran-designated-player contract extension that projects to pay him about $219 million over five years and will keep him in Sacramento long-term. But rather than discuss his future himself, Cousins grabbed a microphone and singled out Sacramento Bee writers Ailene Voisin and Andy Furillo asked whether they wanted the Kings to keep him.

Voisin said no comment. Furillo said his preference would be no.

Cousins responded with a hearty smile and some confident words.

After Grizzlies ‘disrespected’ Thunder with late 3s, Andre Roberson wants payback

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The Grizzlies enjoyed garbage time of their 34-point win over the Thunder a couple weeks ago, shooting 7-for-7 on 3-pointers – six by Troy Daniels and one by James Ennis – in the final few minutes.

Oklahoma City didn’t enjoy it quite so much, and Andre Roberson is leading the fun police.

Roberson, via Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:

“I would usually say it’s one of those games we throw out,” Thunder forward Andre Roberson said Tuesday. “But at the end of that game I felt like we got disrespected in a way. Them launching 3s at the end, I didn’t take that too kindly. We remember that. We bring it up in film. We’re gonna come out tomorrow aggressive and try to get after it.”

Don’t like it? Stop it. Daniels is a 3-point specialist who got hot and had fun with it, as did Memphis’ key players on the bench. Their excitement wasn’t necessarily directed at the Thunder.

But players find reasons to motivate themselves, and maybe that will benefit Roberson when the teams meet again tonight.

How do I know this is faux outrage? Russell Westbrook – who’d already been ejected – is also getting worked up.

Westbrook, via Dawson:

“I was in the shower,” Westbrook said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “I wasn’t watching the rest of that damn game. I was in the shower. But I definitely seen the film, and I’m with Dre. If Dre feels disrespected, I’m disrespected right along with him.”

The Thunder are pulling together and working themselves into a frenzy, which could help them on the court. And if it does, it won’t matter that this started with their inability to defend 3-pointers late in a blowout loss. But that doesn’t make this a crusade I want to get behind.

John Wall: Denzel Valentine’s celebration ‘woke up a monster’ (video)

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Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine hit a 3-pointer that gave him a career 19 points and Chicago a seven-point fourth-quarter lead over the Wizards, and he celebrated fairly demonstratively.

Teammate Taj Gibson didn’t appear to like that.

Washington guard John Wall really didn’t like it.

Wall, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

“I play with a lot of emotion just like him. I understand where he’s coming from,” said Wall, who had game highs of 26 points and 14 assists, including the game-winning jumper, for the Wizards to get them over .500 for the first time since November 2015. “I just said, ‘Don’t celebrate this early.  You’re a rookie. You haven’t earned those stripes yet.’ I told him, ‘That’s how you feel? You woke up a monster.’ I just went on a scoring spree.”

From there, Valentine shot 0-for-3. John Wall went 3-for-6, including hitting the game-winning jumper.

We never would have heard of Wall’s offense if he didn’t respond with strong play in a Washington win. But he did, so he can strut a bit.

Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn fined for ‘striking and pushing’ Anthony Davis

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The Knicks are still dealing with the fallout from Monday.

Obviously, Derrick Rose is handling the most. But Kyle O'Quinn – who was ejected for flagrantly fouling Anthony Davis – is also receiving consequences.

NBA release:

New York Knicks center/forward Kyle O’Quinn has been fined $25,000 for striking and pushing New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis from behind, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which O’Quinn was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected, occurred with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter of the Knicks’ 110-96 loss to the Pelicans on Jan. 9 at Madison Square Garden.

I thought a flagrant 2 call was overkill. A fine on top of it seems especially excessive.