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Lakers News: Damian Lillard says D’Angelo Russell throwing ‘slick little elbows’ led to their argument

For his part, Russell downplayed the incident.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

During the Los Angeles Lakers’ 108-87 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, D’Angelo Russell and Damian Lillard briefly set social media ablaze when they had a verbal exchange following a blown whistle.

Unlike Jordan Clarkson and Goran Dragic’s altercation, this incident didn’t even come close to coming to blows, but the two have seemed to play physical against one another in their recent matchups, which led Russell to be asked after the game whether or not he was developing a “rivalry” with Lillard.

"Nah, that's everybody in this league for me,” downplayed Russell on Spectrum Sportsnet. Some could take this a sign of maturity from Russell, or some might take it as him being humbled a bit by the Blazers responding to the incident with a 14-6 run to end the third quarter before running away with the game while Russell went 2-8 in the second half.

However one evaluates it, it’s worth noting that Lillard didn’t agree with Russell’s assessment when asked after the game:

Russell and Lillard did make quite a bit of contact before they went face-to-face, but it’s hard to tell how much contact was made (Lillard also could have been referencing play prior to that moment):

Both guards were given technical fouls following the exchange.

While most would surely like to see Russell respond with better basketball, him not backing down from one of the best point guards in the league is at least a positive sign of his competitiveness, and it will certainly be worth checking out how both guards respond the next time they match up.

All stats per Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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