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Effort Marks Blazers’ Win Over Suns

As they work to break down old habits and find new ones, wins like the one over Phoenix matter.

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers walked away Saturday night with a dominant win over the Phoenix Suns. Anyone who watched could see a difference on the court, and Jason Quick of the Athletic reports that rookie head coach Chauncey Billups noticed as well.

“There were times out there,” Billups said, trying to contain a smile, “when it looked like we may have had six guys on the floor. People were giving just so many multiple efforts defensively.”

Billups noted the game was “beautiful.”

“We played as good as we can play, to be honest,” Billups said. “We made shots, defensively we did a really good job, we took care of the basketball, we were focused on all of our coverages, and man, it was just beautiful. Just beautiful to see. Not only for me, but for the guys to see what we are capable of when we are focused.”

Quick acknowledges that he asked Billups an impertinent question following the season opener loss to the Sacramento Kings, and Billups called him out on it, noting he expected to see progress down the road.

“We’ve played one game. One game, right? One game, bro. Now, when I talk about patience, we have to be realistic about where we are, and where we need to go. That sh** don’t happen in a week or two weeks. It don’t happen,” Billups said. “So when I say patience, we are trying to win every game. However, there are a lot of habits that need to be broken, and it takes a level of patience to break them. And sometimes it’s going to look really good, and sometimes it’s not going to look good, because you revert back.

“What we have to do is find that happy medium of, okay, we are breaking some of those habits down, but we can’t do it all at one time … we have to win games, too. So we have to find that happy medium.”

The win against the Suns showed progress toward that happy medium. After the victory, Billups was awarded the game ball.

“This goes up at the top … at the top of my accomplishments and my trophy room. That ball will be right there,” Billups said. “First time getting a win, playing with a team that really just believes in me and what myself and staff is trying to do – that’s big time for me.”

Billups acknowledged seeing the growth.

“Proud of these dudes, proud of these dudes,” Billups said. “We’ve been working extremely hard, and we’ve shown it in spurts. Today we did it for the entire game.”

You can read the entire piece here (subscription required).