The Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Dallas Mavericks 125-112 on Friday night in a game that had its positives, despite the loss.

The Blazers got another solid offensive performance out of Anfernee Simons in his second game back from injury. The perimeter defense was relatively effective scrambling around the 3-point arc, and the team didn't get run off the court despite missing Jerami Grant, Malcolm Brogdon, and Deandre Ayton with various injuries.

But the Blazers again struggled with foul trouble. Maybe not to the degree that they dealt with it on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors – where they committed 30 fouls and were outshot 33-16 at the free throw line – but Portland had 24 more fouls on Friday against the Mavs. Toumani Camara had 5, while Shaedon Sharpe, Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, and Duop Reath all committed 4 fouls a piece.

After the game, Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups was asked how his young team can get the respect of the officials.

Said Billups, “Oh man don't get me started bro, it's Christmas time man. I don't want to give none of my money away. I got four girls in my house man, wife and three daughters, I gotta keep my money…Man, I don't know. I don't know how we gain it. To me, I feel like I've always had this defensive mindset even as a player and I felt like when you are the aggressor you, most times, get the favor. Or at least they understand how you play. Like, EVERYTHING is not a foul.

And several times that I've sat up here, I didn't complain at all about the calls they call against us because we play aggressive.”

Billups has the team playing a much more aggressive style of defense than in his previous two seasons as head coach of the Blazers. Having players that are able to play his desired style like Camara, Ayton, and Matisse Thybulle certainly helps, but there is still an element of the Blazers being a young team that commits too many ticky-tack fouls and doesn't get the benefit of the officials swallowing their whistle.

Per Cleaning The Glass, there is a clear delineation between the Blazers' vets and the young players when it comes to foul rate. Compared against the position they play. Brogdon ranks in the 96th percentile in foul rate. Thybulle checks in in the 91st percentile. Jerami Grant comes in at the 83rd percentile. And Deandre Ayton ranks in the 79th percentile.

Contrast that with Duop Reath only reaching the 25th percentile, Toumani Camara in the 16th percentile, Jabari Walker in the 11th percentile, or, astonishingly, Scoot Henderson in the 0th (zero) percentile (committing a foul on six percent of the defensive plays while he's on the court).

Some of it is reputation based (see Thybulle vs. Camara), but some of it is learning not to get out of control and commit silly fouls (see Brogdon vs. Henderson).

Billups likes the aggressiveness he's seen out of his young team, but knows they need to learn to balance the aggression with the fouling, “We foul more than I like, but I know that we've never really had one without the other – You're gonna be very aggressive, you're have to live with some fouls. We're an aggressive team most of the time. But we're attacking on the same thing. The inconsistency really bothers me. I don't know. I don't know how you do that. But we're gonna keep plugging away the best we can.”

It won't get any easier for the Trail Blazers when they visit Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.