The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 119-116 Wednesday night. After the game, Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups sat down with the media following the game to discuss many aspects of the game, including the emotions associated with Damian Lillard’s return.
You can watch the whole interview here or in the embed below. Following that, here are some key quotes from the media availability.
On the way the team played given the atmosphere:
The atmosphere was awesome, obviously. We knew that would be the case. I just didn’t think the moment was too big for our team. We just played so hard, we played together. We continue to get better, just playing for each other. We didn’t come unraveled at the end. We had a lot of miscommunications in that fourth quarter that we gotta clean up defensively. But, man, even when we did we just stayed together. No finger-pointing, we just stayed together.
And I just think we’re learning so much. The only way we can truly compete is if we do it together. And as I tell them all the time, age, that stuff doesn’t matter. We are professionals, we’re all supposed to be here. We earned the right, we should be able to lock-in and just play the right way and see what happens.
On if he was surprised about the Blazers rising to the occasion despite the bright lights:
I wasn’t really surprised. Like I said, we don’t have a lot of guys that have played with [Damian Lillard] so that part wasn’t gonna overwhelm them. Like I said, ignorance is bliss sometimes. You don’t even know what that feels like, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
But I do know that our fans are so great, and when it’s loud in [Moda Center] it just fuels you. It gives you everything you need, and we fed off that.
His thoughts on Anfernee Simons and his ability to not let mistakes stick in his head:
What I love about Ant, what he’s getting so much better at is his memory. He don’t hold on to turnovers, and he gave up a big backdoor layup when the defense was great late in the fourth quarter and didn’t hang his head. He understood, he was mad at himself. I didn’t even have to get on him. And then the turnover in the backcourt, and he just kept going.
I was really happy for Ant. I thought he had a good game all-around. I thought defensively he was solid as well.
On Portland’s evolving style of play:
I think that if our fans have been paying attention all year when we’ve been healthy and the way that we play, they can appreciate it and get behind the way we scrap and grind out there. And we do it together. I think, obviously, today is on another level. I’m pretty sure 95% of the people in this state were hoping that Dame played well but the Blazers won. I want Dame to play well 80 times a year, except for when he plays against us.
But this was, I felt like, just a big character win for us and culture win for us.
The Blazers will take on the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night with a 6:00 PM start time.