The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 105-103 on Wednesday night in a game that came down to the wire, requiring a last-second Anfernee Simons floater to seal the victory. After the game Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups took the microphone to talk about the evening with assembled media members.
You can see the whole video here or in the embed below. Following are key quotes from Billups.
On changing the starting lineup:
We just needed a change, man. We needed a change. Obviously I think Scoot [Henderson] and Tou [Toumani Camara] have been playing well, but we just haven’t gotten off to really good starts. And most times the start don’t really get you beat in games, but for us it has. It’s put us in such a deficit. I just felt like both guys at the start of games have been playing with a little too much pressure as opposed to just being relaxed. So I made the decision with two games to go left on the trip. I just wanted to wait until I got back.... It was going to be Shae [Shaedon Sharpe], as opposed to Malcolm [Brogdon]. But obviously Shae gets hurt in that game. Couldn’t do him.
Then with Jabari [Walker], he just gives us so much rebounding and things that he gives us is a big deal. We just needed something different to look at. As I’ve said all year, it’s that type of season where we’re just going to try a lot of different stuff. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fluid. It’s going to change again a couple times. It’s just no big deal.
On whether the final, game-winning play was designed for Anfernee Simons:
Yeah, that was the play, to get it to Ant. I just wanted to make sure that no matter what... it was a perfectly-executed play. The guys executed it just beautifully. They really did. And Ant shot the ball. I told him, “We need to get the last shot. We don’t want to give them a shot at it...” It was beautiful. .2 on the clock. Even if he misses that shot, I mean, .2... It’s dang near a miracle for them to make a shot against us. We’d just go into overtime with us again. But Ant hit a big-time shot.
On Simons’ demeanor:
He made a heck of a play, kind of split it because they did come on the double team. But he wasn’t taking no for an answer on that. And he had been struggling a little bit. He hadn’t been feeling great. His energy was pretty low. But man, he made a big-time shot.
On the play of Jerami Grant:
Jerami is as important to what we do as anybody on the team. He really is. We depend on him. He comes out tonight and goes and gets 30. And I was on him about being more aggressive in the game. I thought defensively he was really good too. I’m all over him all the time about the rebounding. He comes up with a big-time offensive rebound. Toumani kept it alive and he had an offensive rebound put-back. Jerami was huge, man. He doesn’t get enough credit because he’s just so quiet and he’s just so humble, but that dude is the real deal. We depend on him. I trust him on both sides of the ball. He’s pretty much like the leader of our team. He was awesome. He was awesome today. I was just so happy to have him back.
Billups also talked about offensive rebounding, offensive speed, and the defense Brooklyn threw against Simons.