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Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Roy’

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Brandon Roy is not your typical NBA star. In fact, he’ll tell you the word “star” doesn’t even apply. But for a writer, Roy is everything you want in an interview, let alone a player poised to lead a young team into the playoffs.

Classy.

One writer whispered the word as he passed by, with Roy genuinely taking his time answering questions after the Blazer lost at home a few games back to the Phileadelphia 76ers. Insert cliche’ here: it was a game they should have had.

Everyone knew it. Brandon – who had a non-typical Roy game – knew it. Yet there was no “both teams played hard”. No “we let this get away”. No “this is one we should have had.”

The loss hurt, but still.

No canned answers.

Classy.

Last week after putting the hurt on the Phoenix Suns on TNT, the word jumped to life with Roy.

I was busy working on a story for HOOPSWORLD about the changes going on out West with the playoffs approaching. A team like the Suns – who are always postseason shoe-ins – likely won’t make it. Portland though – a young team on the come-up – easily will.

Goodbye Shaq. Hello Brandon Roy.

Times, they are a changing.

After getting some timely words and razzing from Shaq, I wanted to snag Roy for the piece. As I ran down the hall to the Blazers locker room, I thought for sure Brandon was long gone. Game had been over about an hour at that point. But opening the door to a nearly empty locker room, there was Roy – humble and real – still talking to a couple writers. Pretty soon, it was one on one with Roy.

And as we stood there talking about his days in Seattle, his infant son Brandon Jr., and how he came to know Shaq at the All-Star Game, I couldn’t help but think of that one word.

Most of the players had bailed. Writers were off meeting deadlines. The Blazers communication team huddle in a corner making late night plans.

And Roy just smiled and talked about basketball and life.

Classy.

pic via: o-live

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Trail Blazers Knicks Basketball

Remember earlier in the season when Portland’s intensity level was often in question? Well, the Blazers pretty much killed that theory within twelve minutes on Tuesday.

On a night when Portland desperately needed to show a division rival like the Utah Jazz how legit they are, the Blazers accomplished that and then some. They started aggressive, were active and efficient – essentially providing a glimpse of how good this team really is.

The Blazers 39 points in the first quarter was the most in the opening period this season and tied a team mark for the most in any quarter.

Intense. Exactly how Portland wants to play with the playoffs approaching.

And it went a little something like this….

10:53: Brandon Roy jumper

10:29: LaMarcus Aldridge alley-oop

10:01: Steve Blake three-pointer

9:03: LaMarcus Aldridge lay-up

8:24: Brandon Roy three-pointer

8:13: Steve Blake three-pointer

7:20: Brandon Roy fade away jumper

6:46: LaMarcus Aldridge jump shot

6:24 Brandon Roy dunk

5:49: Brandon Roy lay-up

5:03 Nicolas Batum dunk

4:47: LaMarcus Aldridge freethrows (2-2)

4:13: Greg Oden freethrows (1-2)

3:59: Brandon Roy jump shot

3:33: LaMarcus Aldridge freethrows (2-2)

1:42: Greg Oden freethrows (2-2)

1:02: Greg Oden dunk

0:05: Sergio Rodriguez three-pointer

Three quarters later, Portland finished off Utah with a 125-104 win – their third straight victory of 20 plus points.

Who would have thought Portland would be sitting a game and a half back of the number two spot out West? Crazy.

Now if the Blazers can only show up on the upcoming road trip to Oklahoma City, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio.

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The Latest: Oh, how the shameless plugs pile up….let me count the ways.

Plenty of Western Conference playoff talk go on over at HOOPSWORLD, and guess who has received those assignments?

 And finally….while the Phoenix Suns are quickly fading in the postseason picture behind Dallas, questions about the offseason are already taking place.

Will Grant Hill return? Will Alvin Gentry be back?

After speaking to both guys, it’s clear they want their journey in Phoenix to last.

 pic via: washington post

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roy41It was one of those love-hate moments. For the past few months, I’ve been barking about the Portland Trail Blazers being devoid of physical emotion and toughness. The Blazers were forced to bark back on Monday night.

I loved seeing Portland take a stand against the Los Angeles Lakers – a series that is constantly chippy. I loved seeing Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw display some much needed chutzpah in the final seconds of the third quarter.

I just hated to see it come at the expense of Rudy Fernandez laying under the basket in pain and clutching his chest after taking a hard foul from Lakers Trevor Ariza. It was a scary time. You never want to see that happen to any player – a guy carted off on a stretcher with his neck and body stabilized.

It’s that time of season. Games will be physical from here on out.   

Roy said it best after the game (via HOOPSWORLD’s “Courtside Blog”). The foul was one thing. Ariza “bucking” (talking trash) was the final straw. That’s what got Roy and everyone else on the Blazers sidelines heated.

No need to see a fight. But I’ll take the Blazers getting fired up any day.

I’ve seen this happen before. So has Channing Frye – who was in the thick of the pushing and shoving between the Blazers and Lakers.  Sure he thought back to New York just as I did.

Back in December 2006, Frye was with New York when the Knicks and Denver Nuggets “brawled” at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks took exception to the Nuggets running up the score in a blowout when then-Knick Mardy Collins grabbed J.R. Smith around the neck on an open layup.

Soon players were shoving, posing, throwing punches and both benches got involved in the end. Frye was one of 10 players tossed, while avoiding a suspension. Seven others weren’t so fortunate.

It was a nasty incident. Didn’t have to go there. But it happens.

I’ll never forget watching from the pressbox at MSG as Carmelo Anthony threw a haymaker at Jared Jeffries only to backpedal all the way down to the other end of the court to hide behind his teammates.

A real tough guy.

Luckily, cooler heads prevailed at the Rose Garden on Monday night.

Here’s the footage….getting fired up versus getting into a fight:

pic via: bleacher report

 

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82993701JF019_Houston_Rocke

Man, how times have changed. It used to be that when Brandon Roy and Aaron Brooks shared the court, Roy reaped the praise. On Tuesday night in Houston, these two Seattle natives did a little changing of the guard.

“He’s a mismatch problem for everyone who goes against him,” Brooks said of Brandon back when Aaron was at Oregon and Roy represented Washington.

“He’s quicker than most guards.”

It’s as if the Rockets diminutive guard was talking about himself.

Roy may be the two-time All-Star, but Brooks is starting to shine for Houston – a team who has won eight-straight at home. He finds himself the point man of the Rockets future, particularly after Rafer Alston was shipped to Orlando at the trade deadline last week. And to think there were actually some who cover the Rockets that disapproved of drafting Brooks 26th overall two summers ago.

How do you like him now?

The kid could still be a legit candidate for 6th Man of the Year. If nothing else, he’ll be one of the reasons Houston makes noise out West during their postseason run, sans Tracy McGrady. 

Roy may have finished with 24 points and 5 assists, but Brooks takes home the win. He went for 20 points and 5 assists over the Blazers, who couldn’t overcome an 18-point deficit despite a third quarter surge.

While Portland is tied for the most of any team in the NBA, winning eight games – including six on the road – when trailing at the start of the final period, they couldn’t make it nine on Tuesday night.

So what do they have to show for their efforts?

Nothing more than a quick trip to San Antonio, a restless night and a back-to-back against the Spurs on Wednesday night.

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The Latest: Pretty convenient having Ron Artest on the floor considering one of the topics I touched on in a “PM Report” for HOOPSWORLD late Tuesday.

Who is the “dirtiest player” in the game today? We all know Artest’s history, but I don’t think he takes the honors. For my money, Matt Barnes of the Phoenix Suns gets the nod. See the evidence here. Apparently everyone else and their grandmother – including many players around the league – votes for Bruce Bowen.

Discuss.

pic via: daylife

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KOSZYKÓWKA NBA SPURS SUNS

What do Amar’e Stoudemire, Major League Baseball and a heavyweight championship fight all have in common? None are coming to Portland, so can we just get back to basketball please.

I get it. The trade deadline is upon us and we are bound to hear anything and everything over the next couple of days. But let’s just leave it at this: keeping Raef LeFrentz’s $12.7 million expiring contract is far better for the Blazers than making a move simply for the sake of change.

So after the mass emails from fans, other writers and needy editors I received today about this rumors…..here is the straight dope:

I have no doubt that Phoenix offered a package for Stoudemire, involving LaMarcus Aldridge, Jerryd Bayless, and LeFrentz’s expiring contract. If I learned anything from Ken Berger – formerly of Newsday, who reported the story over at CBSSports.com – from when we both covered the New York Knicks, it is this:

The guy can work a story and his sources are legit. Portland signing off on the deal however is not.

It’s surprising Phoenix didn’t ask for Brandon Roy in return too.

Good lord.

GM’s talk all the time. They talk shop all the time. Heck, some even text trade ideas to each other. ‘Tis the season.

And just as Portland isn’t buying this deal, neither do I believe that this whole talk got started on Portland’s end. Aldridge is the second best player on the team. Bayless is a kid many in the organization see as a future point guard for Portland. As for LeFrentz, that contract isn’t going anywhere until this summer once it has expired.

To be honest, I’m not sure Stoudemire is on his way out of Phoenix just yet. Not Chicago, not Miami and certainly not Portland. If anything, the Suns are putting him on ice.

So let’s everyone cool down from this rumor.

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The Latest: Since I won’t be making the trip to the All-Star Game this weekend, I knocked out a quick story on someone who will be – adidas.

Let me explain. If you haven’t heard, adidas constructed the jerseys that will be worn at the All-Star Game on Sunday and the product is pretty insane. Spoke with an adidas rep yesterday, who endured sleepless nights the past two years to help get this high-tech uniform done.

I will let the story tell the story….”The Perfect Fit At All-Star”….via HOOPSWORLD of course.

And of course, here is the poster child for the product. None other than Superman himself….

pic via: nba noise

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Gone Mental….

roy

The NBA All-Star weekend is nearly upon us, but I’m getting the feeling the Portland Trail Blazers – with still two more games before the break against Oklahoma City and Golden State – have taken their leave a bit early.

Mentally, they are already on vacation.

If Sunday’s near loss to the New York Knicks said anything, it said that. In fact, that truth was spoken last Friday night in Oklahoma City. Loud and clear.

This is in no way taking away from the shocking comeback win and late game heroics of Brandon Roy. Amazing wears number seven. This much we know. Guess Jared Jeffries ignored the scouting report about Roy’s trademark sweet lefthand scoop to the hoop– even if Jeffries did get caught on a switch.

But as I got into after the game during a postgame HOOPSWORLD blog entry, the Blazers nearly gave that one away….a few times.

I know Nate McMillan said afterwards he’ll take the win. But there is no way he takes blowing a 17 point lead, turning the ball over 14 times and letting the Knicks basically run amuck in the second half.

You can’t take that, not when the real season starts after the All-Star break.

Portland can’t afford the same costly mental lapses during the second half of the season.

pic via: o-live

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teamDoc Rivers sat in his office in the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Garden staring at the sheet of paper. It was hard to tell if he couldn’t believe the black ink popping off the page or if he was trying to memorize it. Either way, Doc wasn’t happy.

Rivers was quick to credit a Brandon Roy-less Portland after the Blazers beat his struggling Celtics team of late. But Doc still couldn’t get over a call the refs blew (or called brilliantly depending on the team you represent) right before the half on Tuesday night.

I detailed the 10.3 seconds remaining right before the half here after the game courtesy of HOOPSWORLD’s “Courtside Blog.” Tough break Doc.

Here’s the thing: Had that call gone against Boston; had the Celtics scored with six men on the court; had Boston been on the receiving end of that bucket, Portland would shut down like another snow storm hit the city.

Bedlam.

No, that’s not how the Blazers beat the Celtics. But let’s be real.

Portland showed up to play while Boston arrived and failed at playing their typical brand head games Kevin Garnett style. The Beantown jawing in early December when the Celtics manhandled the Blazers may have worked then, but Greg Oden – and particularly LaMarcus Aldridge – weren’t having it in Rip City with or without Brandon Roy. And in this case it was “without” Brandon Roy.

A huge win – the last of 2008. 

What a way to go out.

(Portland’s “six-on-the-floor” :48 seconds into the highlight.)

pic via: si.com

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basnowI’m not sure when it hit me. Could have been when I was digging around the snow drift to my car. Or maybe as I was chaining up, eager to break the family bout of cabin fever with a trip to Target. Then I got the text message– that’s when I knew.

The show must go on.

“The Trail Blazers have boarded a bus enroute to Eugene where they will fly out later this afternoon for their Monday night game at Denver.”

It’s come to this.

Just what Nate McMillan and his team need: more snow, complete with elevation. But after a nice full week – and even fuller weekend of the fluffy stuff  in Portland – it was time to get back to work. I’m sure the last thing McMillan and especially Brandon Roy wanted to do was move on from his 52-point performance against the Phoenix Suns and the “M-V-P” chants echoing from last Thursday at the Rose Garden.

There are no rain outs – or snow outs in this case – in the NBA. The show must go on. That goes for Portland, who has to play Denver on Monday before traveling back to Portland to play the Nuggets on Tuesday, and that goes for me too.

I’ve got my own agenda to keep.

Family is coming to town for the holiday, where a gripping adventure to Central Oregon waits. But not before my wife and I head to the hospital in the morning to see if we’re having a little boy or little girl come May. Either way I’ll be teaching the pick-and-roll at some point in the next 10 years….

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Shameless plug: What is a guy to do when he’s surrounded by ten inches of snow outside and a continuous loop of “Finding Nemo” inside?

After a few emails on Friday and Saturday from a person close to the Indiana Pacers, it became clear Jamaal Tinsley is in for a long season. It’s a topic I launched into – “Will Tinsley Play Again?” at HOOPSWORLD – knowing there’s a chance Tinsley will be back on the court, just not any time soon.

In staying with the “point guard” theme….the Phoenix Suns are holding a workout Monday to fill a roster spot to find a suitable back-up point guard (“New Point Guard For Suns?”), with six free agents vying for the job. A quick teaser…..two former Blazers round out the participants.

pic via: hidden-london

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Trail Blazers Suns BasketballCompared to Brandon Roy’s historical night, Travis Outlaw will be back page news come Friday morning. But he should at least get a sidebar mention in the win over Phoenix on national television.

As Roy stood with the game ball under his arm after finishing with a career-high 52 points, Outlaw slowly slipped into the tunnel towards the Blazers locker room. Portland sure needed this one. But Outlaw needed it even more.

He hasn’t been himself lately, even before the sore tailbone which has hampered Travis since Utah. Heck, even the trade rumors probably took their toll. No newsflash here: last year’s “Mr. 4th Quarter” has been – shall we say – a bit M.I. A.

On Thursday night though, Outlaw inched back towards outstanding. Not only did he provide the only scoring spark (14 points) in the second unit, but he remained aggressive throughout (6 rebounds). Then there was “the play.”

Outlaws ability to battle Jason Richardson for a rebound with 12.2 seconds left and Portland up by three points could have been the play of the game. Blazers ball. After fourth quarter collapses to Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers last week, it certainly was the Blazers saving grace.

Portland has shown they can beat the dregs of the league like Sacramento. The way the Blazers make noise in the NBA though is by beating upper echelon teams like the Suns. Okay, so it’s not those Phoenix Suns, but nevertheless a difficult match-up coming off three days rest against a young team like Portland who has endured some growing pains of late.

Luckily along with Roy, Steve Blake (22 points and 10 assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (16 points on 8 for 12), Travis Outlaw came to play.

pic via: daylife

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Off The Wall

83010322JJ006_PORTLAND_TRAIOn a night when Terry Porter’s number 30 was raised to the Rose Garden rafters and Brandon Roy nearly continued his 30-plus consecutive scoring streak, Nicolas Batum decided to show-up and join the party.

The 19-year-old from Lisieux, France – who has struggled of late after a brilliant start to the season – finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and went 2 for 5 from beyond the arc in roughly 24 minutes.

Nicolas needed that game. Every rookie slumps at some point in the season. Maybe this was his slump buster.

It was Batum’s best game since November 28 against New Orleans when he finished with 12 points in 20 minutes. His outings that followed have been a combination of nondescript (Boston and Los Angeles Clippers) and scoreless (5 of the last 8 games) performance. It became glaringly clear Nicolas had run smackdab into a rookie wall.

On Tuesday night Batum ran right through that wall thanks to a regained stroke and his trademark defense. Thanks to Nicolas, the Blazers bench actually snapped out of their mini-funk with with all seven members in the second unit scoring in Portland’s 32-point win over the Sacramento Kings. 

pic via: daylife

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