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Billups again rips Trail Blazers players: “I want us to compete harder”

After the Phoenix Suns' 104-96 win over the Golden State Warriors, Nekias Duncan joins Michael Smith and Michael Holley to break down the game and Chris Paul's play.

Coach Chauncey Billups has ripped his Trail Blazers before for not fighting through problems, not competing.

Thursday night, a shorthanded Blazers team — no Damian Lillard (out with an abdominal issue), Norman Powell (quad), or Nassir Little (ankle) — was easily beaten by the Spurs, 114-83. San Antonio dominated both ends of the floor with a balanced attack, led by Bryn Forbes, who had 18 off the bench.

After that performance, Billups ripped his Blazers again. Via friend of this site Sean Highkin:

It’s been a rough season for the Trail Blazers. GM Neil Olshey said last offseason the team’s first-round playoff exit was not a product of the roster, then proceeded to fire coach Terry Stotts and throw him under the bus for the team’s defense. He brought in first-time coach Billups, who now oversees the 28th ranked defense in the NBA on an 11-12 team. Billups did inspire Lillard to stay in Portland and not push his way out of town, but the abdominal issue that slowed Lillard in the Tokyo Olympics has lingered all season, hurt his shooting (30.2% from 3), and taken the top gear or two away from his game.

Throw in the cloud of a workplace investigation of Olshey and the body language of Trail Blazers players looks defeated from the opening tip some nights.

That clearly frustrates Billups, but he has not yet found a way to consistently light a fire under this team, a squad with a ceiling well below Olshey’s expectations if Lillard is not playing at an All-NBA level. The question is what will shake this team up?