Blazers notes: Damian Lillard (ankle) says he’ll play Sunday vs. Jazz, practice gets a little heated

 (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard told reporters after Thursday’s practice that he plans to play in Sunday’s preseason game against the Utah Jazz. He also was the subject of a rather divisive matter during Thursday’s practice.

After media were let into practice, several players and staffers gathered around a monitor with a closed-circuit feed of the Blazers practice replaying a play over and over. This is the same filming system that captured Mason Plumlee’s glorious NBA Live glitch 3-pointer. On Thursday, they were using the monitor to replay a controversial call in the scrimmage.

Lillard told the story of what happened in an “aggressive scrimmage,” after Thursday’s practice.

“It starts getting aggressive. Both ends,” Lillard said before continuing to explain the action that was the the subject of scrutiny. “Kaman gets the ball at the elbow. He’s on this elbow right here.”

Lillard pointed out where Kaman caught the ball on the court.

“I’m at the nail, his back is to me. I’m facing this way, he’s palming the ball like this. Tim (Frazier) is yelling ‘wolf’ (a warning that someone is coming from behind, or to tell someone to come from behind in this case) so I run over there real quick and I slapped the ball down. He’s palming it. So I slap the ball down and the ball went out of bounds. And they gave us the ball. And he was mad about it.”

The referees gave the call to Lillard’s team, which he maintains was the right call.

“When we played, I said it wasn’t off me,” Lillard said. “And they thought I was just cheating because I was mad. I hit the ball down and I was trying to get it out so I could get a dribble instead of just tapping it out. So I hit down and he was palming it. His hand was underneath the ball. So when I hit it down he tried to keep control of it. So it touched his fingers last and went out of bounds. Cause the ball didn’t go that way (pointing towards the backcourt). It came straight of bounds here (the sideline), which shows that he tried to get control of it but it was out of bounds.”

But even with all the wonders of technology available to a team at the NBA level–one owned by one of the founders of Microsoft and one of the fanciest practice facilities you’ll find–it goes to show that there are a few things that technology can’t make clear, even in practice.

“Basically the computer wasn’t HD enough for us to get enough people to say one side,” Lillard said. “It was even. So (Kaman) got mad.”

Kaman did not speak with the media to explain his side of the story.

Perhaps this will be the inspiration for getting 1080p resolution for their practice facility next season. Maybe a curved monitor? Or, maybe this sets up some kind of TV endorsement deal for the Blazers.

“Get all the calls right with Standard TV & Appliance!” “Video replay causing disagreements at work? Not with Video Only!”

Lillard has been a full participant In Portland’s last two practices.

‘ll definitely play on Sunday,” Lillard said when asked directly about his availability.

Lillard has no qualms with sitting out during the preseason, something he’s pretty regularly since coming into the league.

“I would rather be watching in the preseason than the regular season,” Lillard said. “I think this is the third time (he’s sat out in preseason). I think I’ve had one full preseason. Rookie year I missed a couple of games, last year, the year before. Same thing this season. I’d rather it be preseason than in the regular season.”

Lillard has yet to miss a regular season game in his pro career, entering his fourth season.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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