Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups was somber, measured, and brief as he addressed reporters following his team’s 126-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. It was the second 20-point blowout for the Blazers in a row, a first for the 2023-24 season. Reporters asked Billups about the defeat and the status of several players.
You can see Billups’ interview in its entirety here or in the embed below. The following are key excerpts from the session:
On the loss:
Oh man, it was rough. It was rough. Tough going all night. The foul trouble really hurt us. Them going to the free throw line every time. You can never really run and get in a rhythm. It’s tough to kinda get in any rhythm and play that way, when every single time, it seemed like they were stopping the game. We could never really get going. And then Luka had a special night. And Ky, Kyrie had a special night. Dude just hit some incredible shots, man. And then to get easy buckets from the free throw line just makes it tough.
On losing Duop Reath to a Flagrant 2 foul and Jabari Walker to injury in the second and third quarters, respectively:
I was so happy, we were getting so many guys back tonight, even with restrictions. But then you lose Duop and you lose ‘Bari, and then you’re back to being short, short-manned again.
But we’ve got to be better. I thought the biggest thing, we talked about the free throws, but we turned the ball over too much in the first quarter, I mean the first half. You come in at halftime and we had 14 turnovers at the half for 21 points. This team is hard enough to guard in the halfcourt, period. And then you give them the easy ones in transition and turn it over. That compounds things. It just makes it tough.
More on the loss:
It was a lot... You know how I am. I definitely don’t make excuses, but it was a lot to overcome in the game tonight. I tried everything. I was playing lineups that I’ve never even seen. The truth of the matter is, because we haven’t had bodies, you can’t practice. So you end up practicing in the game. Tough circumstances.
On his players’ performance:
I didn’t think anybody played particularly well in the game, to be honest.
On the health of center Deandre Ayton, who has missed five consecutive games with tendinitis in his knee:
He’s pretty much day-to-day. He’s just still working on it. We’re going to get some more information on it soon.
Billups also talked about the return of guard Anfernee Simons and the difficulty of developing coherent rotations in the midst of injuries.
The Blazers and Mavericks face off again on Friday evening with a 5:30 PM, Pacific start.