Billups: Trail Blazers need to 'compete harder'
Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups isn't pleased with his team's effort this season.
Following Portland's 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the first-year bench boss called out the Blazers.
"My biggest concern, I think, at the moment, is I want us to compete harder, man. I want us to compete harder," Billups said, according to ESPN. "I want us to be competitive in every game. And I don't feel like every night we do that. We don't. And it concerns me. And I've felt that way in a lot of our wins. This is not just after a loss, me saying this."
Billups was hired this past offseason as Terry Stotts' replacement and tasked with helping revamp Portland's defense. After finishing last season with the 29th-ranked defensive rating (115.3), the Blazers haven't shown significant improvements under Billups, currently ranking 28th (111.8) in the same metric.
Portland's hustle stats also suggest a lack of collective effort on the defensive end. The team has managed to recover the eighth-fewest loose balls and has contested the 11th-fewest shots in the league.
The Blazers are 11-12 and ninth in the Western Conference, and they face an uphill battle in the short term. Superstar guard Damian Lillard will be out at least the next three games with an abdominal injury, while Lillard's backup, Anfernee Simons, exited Thursday's loss with a sprained ankle.