Petty NBA Bubble Drama Has Finally Begun With Damian Lillard And the Clippers

Damian Lillard, Reggie Jackson, and Paul George
Damian Lillard, Reggie Jackson, and Paul George / Pool/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers had every opportunity to pull out a win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon and just couldn't do it. Kawhi Leonard sat out and Paul George didn't play the last four minutes of the game. Yet the Clippers, on the strength of a last-minute Rodney McGruder three and two stunning missed free throws from Damian Lillard, ended up with the victory.

Then the fun began. Lillard was talking trash to Patrick Beverley (who also sat out) throughout the contest. Beverley chirped back in kind, but saved the best for last after Lillard missed the game-changing free throws with less than 20 seconds remaining. George also joined in at points in the waning minutes as he celebrated his teammates securing an unlikely win.

Lillard was asked about it all after the game, and did not hold back at all.

Brutal. Beverley was on the receiving end of Lillard's 2014 series-winning buzzer-beater against the Houston Rockets, and George, of course, was the defender on Lillard when he sunk a ridiculous three to send the Oklahoma City Thunder home last year. Those are pretty good receipts to hold over their heads when the trash talking gets personal.

George wasn't afraid to fire back after Lillard's quote was posted on the Bleacher Report Instagram page. It's the top comment on the post below, and a screenshot after in case the comment is deleted.

Then it gets even better somehow! Lillard responded to George's comment before Beverley jumped in too. Fantastic.

"You boys is chumps." This is what the NBA is all about! It felt inevitable that living in close quarters with everyone would eventually rub some the wrong way. That may not be happening here given the history between the trio as Lillard references, but I can't imagine it's helping.

Unfortunately for Lillard, George is also correct. The Clippers are set for a deep playoff run with their pair of superstars. The Blazers are going to have to fight and claw their way just to get the eight seed, after which LeBron James and Anthony Davis await them. It would take an unbelievable, historic run from Lillard to overcome all those obstacles and be in a position to once again send George and Beverley home.

But then again, doubting Lillard hasn't proven dividends in the past. We'll see if he can do the impossible once more. A Blazers-Clippers series would be too good after all this.