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Report: Trail Blazers' Stotts nearly fired after playoff sweep by Pelicans

Will Newton / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Entering Tuesday's action, the Portland Trail Blazers sit atop the Western Conference, but it wasn't long ago that their head coach's job was in jeopardy.

Ownership came close to firing head coach Terry Stotts after the Trail Blazers were swept from last season's playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Following their final game, late owner Paul Allen reportedly told the team that the manner in which its season ended was "unacceptable." Teams with head coaching vacancies inquired about Stotts' potential interest in coaching elsewhere, Lowe adds.

But star point guard Damian Lillard and general manager Neil Olshey helped convinced the Trail Blazers' brass otherwise.

"I was asked what I thought, and I just said I love him as a coach," Lillard said. "We all love him."

Lillard believed Stotts wasn't to blame for the team's postseason shortcomings and made it clear he and his teammates were just as responsible for their failures.

"I grew up that way," Lillard said. "Let's say we had to clean the house, and my job was to clean the kitchen. My brother is supposed to do the bathroom. My sister is supposed to clean the living room. If I do my job but that other stuff ain't done, then we didn't do it. That was my upbringing. We all go down together."

The Trail Blazers will look to continue their hot start Tuesday in New York against the Knicks.

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