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Damian Lillard says Philadelphia 76ers deserving of 'respect' this season

From NBA media reports

For the first time since 2012-13, the Philadelphia 76ers are over .500 after 16 games. Behind the play of young phenoms Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers have the look so far this season of a playoff team and have notched big wins against the Houston Rockets, LA Clippers and Detroit Pistons.

Tonight’s showdown with the Portland Trail Blazers (7 ET, NBA League Pass) provides another early test for Philadelphia as it must try to contain the Blazers’ high-scoring backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. To Lillard, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, there’s no longer a reason to take the Sixers lightly:

“I think in the past we took them lightly. They kind of jumped out and played hard and they beat us,” Lillard said following a Tuesday-evening practice at the Sixers training complex in Camden. “This year, you have no choice but to respect what they’ve done and how they’re playing. They’re not doing it like it’s luck, they’re out there hooping.”

Despite the rolled ankle, noticeable discomfort, and around-the-clock treatment, Lillard seems determined to face the Sixers. Lillard, who did not participate in practice, said he is looking forward to the matchup.

“I told y’all that yesterday,” Lillard said, referring to previously saying he planned on playing in Philadelphia. “I pretty much got babied last night so it was good…I feel good.”

“They have a really good mix of passing and shooting and size, so it’s going to be a challenge. They can hurt you inside, outside, and in transition,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “They have length at every position, other than J.J. It’s a very interesting mix and it’s going to be interesting how the matchups go.”

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