Well, that was a, err, umm, a win. So that’s good. It was an entirely forgettable victory, too, one overshadowed by the grand misadventures of Brandon Roy’s hamstring, but still a methodical and well-earned W.
The Blazers continued to do what they have done often with Roy either on the bench or dragging, and that’s move the ball, assisting on 25-of-37 field goals. Against a Clippers team that generally doesn’t hold defensive focus for a full 24 seconds, Portland ran their sets, often beginning with the baseline screens for Martell Webster and Rudy Fernandez, getting LaMarcus Aldridge a touch in the high post and then going to the dribble-drive action to clear some space for shooters. None of it was particularly earth shattering, but when you’re getting shooters open and you are a willing passer, 10-of-18 from downtown seems like a proper result.
Yes, Portland almost gave up another big lead, but we’ve been over this time and time again: this roster isn’t made to hold leads. It sure would be nice if the Blazers had a shotblocking center who could also help deter the Clippers from grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, wouldn’t it? I’m not saying recent changes with act the Cure All for the late-game defensive problems, but with how efficiently the offense is operating, a bandage is all that’s required.
What is hanging over this game is that after shooting 2-of-7 for four points, Brandon Roy pulled himself from the second half and afterwards began thinking out loud to the media about his status for the rest of the season. You can’t fault the guy for being honest, but in a league where so many teams protect the true natures of injuries, Roy’s candid approach was quite the surprise.
The first reaction is for everyone to panic, but we should probably be nodding our heads instead. The door to the Danger Zone was wide open when it was announced Roy would play just before gametime. You don’t want any sort of doubt when it comes to soft tissue injuries, and it was present in some form before and after the game. Roy expressed it. The last thing we want him doing is forcing it, but it is possible that it could linger for the rest of the season. Just ask New York Mets fans how their experience was last year with Jose Reyes.
What Roy’s possibly prolonged absence does make you think about is the Marcus Camby trade, currently lauded by all. Is it worth it to trade for Camby — meant to give Portland a push into the playoffs and a chance once there — if Roy is done? Of course it is. We’ve already played the “get something for nothing” angle with Blake and Outlaw’s contracts, since they were not getting re-signed, but the other way to look at it is that the Blazers had gotten what they could out of them. The more success you have this season, the better, but the more you learn from that success is more important. Camby doesn’t have to stand at the head of the locker room and drop a lecture over the beats of Summer Madness from Kool and the Gang, but there is a higher chance of him having a lasting effect on this team the next two months than with the other two.
The most we can ask for from Roy’s hammy at this point is a little certainty, which we aren’t likely to get. But in the meantime the Blazers won a game they should have behind fantastic performances from Aldridge and Webster, the latter of which might go on one heck of an upswing now that three have become two at the three spot.