Game 33 Preview: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz (plus Roy reaction)

Blazers: 16-16

Jazz: 22-10

Game Details: Rose Garden, Portland, PR. 7:00 PM. TV: KGW. Radio: KXTG (95.5 FM)

Projected Portland Starting Lineup: PG Andre Miller (#24, 6′2″, Utah), SG Wesley Matthews (#2, 6′5″, Marquette), SF Nicolas Batum(#88, 6′9″, France), PF LaMarcus Aldridge (#12, 6′11″, Texas), C Marcus Camby (#23, 6′11″, UMass)

Projected Utah Starting Lineup: PG Deron Williams (#8, 6′3″, Illinois), SG Raja Bell (#19, 6′5″, Florida International), SF Andrei Kirilenko (#47, 6′9″, Russia), PF Paul Millsap (#24, 6′8″, Lousiana Tech), C Al Jefferson (#25, 6′10″, Prentiss High School)

The Blazers just played the Utah Jazz earlier this week, and pulled out a solid win. With Marcus Camby back in the lineup after missing Tuesday’s blowout loss to Denver, the matchup between these teams should be pretty much the same as it was on Monday. The Blazers rode a strong night from LaMarcus Aldridge and solid contributions from Rudy Fernandez and Dante Cunningham, and managed to reasonably contain everybody besides Deron Williams. Play another good, balanced game, and they have a chance to take the lead in the season series with the Jazz.

Since there isn’t much of a preview to write for a team the Blazers played three days ago, I will instead use this space to give a quick take on the news–as first reported by the Oregonian’s Jason Quick–that Blazers GM Rich Cho says the team will shut down Brandon Roy for the foreseeable future. I can’t necessarily say I’m surprised: Roy hasn’t played in a couple weeks, and when he has been on the court, he hasn’t been close to 100 percent.

His attitude towards his injury and diminishing role seems to change every time he’s asked about it, which is understandable. He wasn’t anticipating this happening a year ago when he signed a five-year extension with the Trail Blazers. The assumption was that he would be the team’s franchise player, a perennial All-Star, and one of the 10 to 15 best players in the league for years to come. Wesley Matthews has played very, very well starting in Roy’s place, but it’s not the same as having a healthy Roy. The talk is that he may never get back to his 2008-09 (or even 2009-10) form, because he doesn’t have the kind of injury that more surgeries can fix. It’s heartbreaking to think about: a player with Roy’s combination of superstar talent and a lack of LeBron-sized ego doesn’t come along very often. All we can do is hope that he can negotiate his body into at least a functioning shape and reinvent his game to accomodate it. Grant Hill was able to do this–he didn’t develop into the superstar he was poised to become, but he has put together an extremely respectable career. I’m not losing faith that Brandon can do the same. This news, will, however, make the upcoming trade deadline potentially very interesting.

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