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#pounditWednesday, January 26, 2022

Damian Lillard has strong response to report of tension with Chauncey Billups

Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers have been inconsistent at best this season, and a report on Monday claimed that has already led to tension between first-year head coach Chauncey Billups and some of his players. Damian Lillard issued a strong response to that report.

A story from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic cited sources who claim “Lillard has grown frustrated with the team’s play and tension appears to be on the rise between the players and Billups.” Lillard caught wind of the report and ripped it in a tweet.

The report notes that Billups lit into Blazers players following their 145-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

“Competitive fire and pride, that’s something you either have or don’t have,” Billups said. “That’s something you can’t turn off and turn on. … I’ve never seen a team that needs its bench to inspire our starters. That shit is crazy to me. It’s supposed to be the other way around.”

It would hardly be a surprise if that type of public criticism irritated Lillard and others, especially coming from a first-year head coach. Lillard has also been openly frustrated with Portland’s roster in recent years. The fact that the team did not make significant improvements this offseason and is 11-13 probably has not pleased him.

The same report from The Athletic claimed Lillard wants to team up with a specific star player, but Lillard did not address that.

Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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