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Continued: NBA Insider: Blazers' Lillard expects success

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 22, 2014 - 5:37 PM

NBA short takes

Been there, done that

Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart — an expected lottery pick this summer in a stacked NBA draft — returned Saturday after serving a three-game suspension for shoving a hostile Texas Tech fan.

It’s an incident that brought back memories for Wolves star Kevin Love about that night during his one season at UCLA, a night he returned to play at Oregon in front of fans outraged he didn’t stay home to play his college ball.

He said Oregon fans distributed his cellphone number on the Internet and left death-threat messages, pelted family members with popcorn boxes and empty cups and made his grandmother cry. They also insulted him with homophobic chants on a night when Love delivered a 26-point, 18-rebound performance in a UCLA victory.

“There are certain times when it really does cross the line and being a fan you can take it too far,” Love said. “You don’t want to see that in sports.”

Everybody’s a critic …

Kobe Bryant didn’t think much of his Lakers trading veteran guard Steve Blake to Golden State on Thursday in a move that saved the team $4 million and brought back young players Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.

Bryant took to Twitter, posting, “Not cool with @SteveBlake4 being gone AT ALL One of my closest teammates and psycho competitor GS pick up gem #smartmove.”

Comeback kid

Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook is back after he returned for Thursday’s resounding home loss to Miami. He wrote Happy Birthday to his mom on the bottom of his sneakers, scored 16 points and played nearly 24 minutes after he missed 27 games because of a knee injury that also delayed the start of his season.

“I’m very excited for him,” teammate Kevin Durant said afterward. “He gets to play the game he loves again. He looked really good out there. We’ll see next game. He looks good today.”

Wolves' week ahead

Sunday: 8 p.m. at Portland (FSN)

Tuesday: 8 p.m. at Phoenix (FSN)

Saturday: 9 p.m. at Sacramento (FSN)

Player to watch:

Goran Dragic, Suns

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  • Damian Lillard, driving against Trey Burke during the Rising Stars game last week, has led the Trail Blazers to a surprising 36-18 record going into the weekend.

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