Scott Brooks on Russell Westbrook vs. Damian Lillard: 'We aren’t here to make friends'

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Chase Hughes
·2 min read
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Scott Brooks on Russ vs. Dame: 'We aren't here to make friends' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Scott Brooks has coached Russell Westbrook in hundreds of NBA games, so he has plenty of experience going into match-ups between Westbrook and his most heated rivals. Brooks appreciates how Westbrook views his opponents as enemies and there are some he has more history with than others, like Blazers star Damian Lillard whom he will face on Tuesday night for the first time since joining the Washington Wizards.

Like most basketball fans, Brooks is looking forward to the two squaring off.

"They’re two high, high elite basketball players. They’ve been great for their teams throughout the years," Brooks said.

"I know they have history, but I’ve been around Russell enough, he has history with everybody."

Brooks was in the Western Conference coaching Westbrook with the Thunder when Lillard burst on the scene with Portland. Lillard went from a mid-major college star to a perennial All-NBA player not long after Westbrook rose to the superstar echelon.

They are only two years apart, Westbrook at 32 and Lillard at 30, and have played each other 32 times including the postseason. Lillard, by the way, is 14-13 against Westbrook in the regular season and 4-1 in the playoffs.

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Knowing how those games have gone in the past, with Westbrook famously doing his 'rock the baby' taunt and Lillard waving bye after hitting a buzzer-beater to end their playoff series in 2019, Brooks expects a competitive game on Tuesday night.

"You know when you play [Westbrook], you better be ready to play. He’s going to bring a physicality, he’s going to bring a mental edge. Dame does the same thing. He does it in a quiet way. But he puts a lot of stress and mental anguish on his opponents and other team’s coaching," Brooks said..

"Right now, he’s making 35-footers like it seems like layups. That’s a hard thing to guard. I’m sure both are going to compete against each other and that’s good. You want two of the best players on teams that compete. We aren’t here to make friends and they aren’t either."

Back in December, Lillard referred to Westbrook as his "arch nemesis" and just two weeks ago called out a reporter for suggesting the Wizards' backcourt of Westbrook and Bradley Beal was better than his in Portland with C.J. McCollum. Though McCollum will be out due to injury, Westbrook vs. Lillard will be must-see.

Watch Wizards-Blazers Tuesday night on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage begins at 7 p.m.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Washington
+230+6.5O 237.5
Denver
-295-6.5U 237.5