Chauncey Billups Rips Blazers After Loss: 'Crazy' That Bench Has to Inspire Starters

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2021

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Chauncey Billups of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Moda Center on November 30, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups called out his team after a 145-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday. 

"I've never seen a team that needs its bench to inspire our starters," Billups told reporters after the game. "That s--t is crazy to me. It's supposed to be the other way around."

Portland was overmatched most of the game, but a rare bright spot came in the second quarter when it outscored Boston 35-26. Larry Nance Jr. (nine points, five rebounds and two steals) and Cody Zeller (10 points, eight rebounds) stood out among the energized bench players.

The starting lineup has taken a hit, as star guard Damian Lillard has missed the past three games with an abdominal injury. Dennis Smith Jr. scored 21 points in his place Sunday while CJ McCollum scored 24, although the latter struggled with his shot and finished 8-of-21 from the field and 3-of-9 from three-point range. 

All five starters were at best minus-14 on the court in the loss to the Celtics.

Portland has lost five of its last six games to fall to 11-13, which puts it 10th in the Western Conference.

Billups is in his first year as the Trail Blazers head coach after replacing Terry Stotts, who was fired after leading the team to eight straight playoff appearances.