After Sunday night’s 115-108 win over the Denver Nuggets, Damian Lillard became the target of an investigation by the league and their anti-flopping rule after Mason Plumlee tapped him during a three pointer, which, if you ask me... FINE! Fuck off. He definitely is guilty to a degree, he fell back like a sniper pegged from the rafters with minimal contact. But what Dame did on that play was strategical, masterful and certainly nothing worse than the (countless) egregious flops that players like Harden, Durant, and Curry commit on a regular basis; seemingly without questioning by the referees. It seems that the men in stripes just don’t see the beatings Dame takes the same way they can see gusts of wind assault other players.
I would argue that because Damian Lillard is a Portland Trail Blazer, he, like the rest of Rip City gets no respect from the rest of the NBA. Whether you’re talking about members of the national media, average fans or seasoned referees, Portland always gets brushed to the side and treated as an afterthought. Anyone can clearly see that Dame flopped after contact from Plumlee and before the whistle. However, this implies that it wouldn’t have even been a foul if Lillard didn’t resort to the tactics that he did. He had to sell the contact from Plumlee. He always has to sell fouls and air out his grievances with the referees on a semi nightly basis because he gets dick squwat for calls from the refs, who are looking more and more like a formidable team of their own, reeking havoc on most teams in the league; especially Portland.
Portland is an easy market for anyone to to pick on, with only 650,000 residents in the area, as compared to places like Los Angeles, that boasts a whopping 4 million residents. Or try New York, which is home to a staggering 8.6 million people. It’s safe to say that the NBA generally wants teams with larger fanbases to succeed due to the increased amount of support (read: money) potentially garnered from the fanbases and beyond. There is also a clear desire on the part of the league to damn near assist with the success of certain popular players who, thanks to their abilities, don’t need one bit of help from officials in the first place. Think about players like Chris Paul, James Harden or Russell Westbrook, who flop so much that throughout the course of a game, they basically reside on either the floor or the free throw line.
During Friday night’s game against the Nuggets, Doris Burke, who is an obvious fan of Damian Lillard and a damn national treasure, commented about the visible restraint shown by Lillard as of late and how he goes about communicating to the refs about the (lack of) calls that he receives. Compare that to the Golden State Warriors, who just received massive fines for taunting and complaining about the refs for “unfair treatment.” I for one, never really have an issue with Lillard when he has to have lively conversations with referees, even if it seemingly does get to the level of cringeworthy by some standards. To be very clear, short of the occasional technical foul, I want Dame to be vocal to refs and I don’t think Blazer fans mind if he voices his opinion when he feels it’s necessary. Maybe it has something to do with the perceived lack of respect that Lillard and the rest of the Blazers receive in the form hostile officiating.
Speaking of which, after the formal flopping investigation was announced, it didn’t take long for Lillard to rightfully snap back at both the league and officials on Twitter; echoing my and probably most of Rip City’s sentiments on the matter. To Burke’s point, lately Lillard has been noticeably silent in regards to any of his usual extra curricular conversations with referees. So, needless to say, this response from Lillard was overdue and on point.
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A group of life long blazer fans that are dedicated to sharing our authentic thoughts about the team. This unfiltered group is all about sharing the highs and lows of being a Blazer fan. We commit to one podcast a week where we encourage our fans to drink along with us and join the fun!