TUALATIN, Ore. — Everything is OK.
Those words need to proceed any news regarding Brandon Roy not working out with the team these days.
When the practice facility doors opened to the media Tuesday, the Blazers’ guard was nowhere to be found. Turned out he was excused for for the day due to back stiffness.
“He’s fine,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said immediately. “He’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
McMillan added that Roy had actually been feeling tight before Tuesday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, in which he scored 21 points in 27 minutes, including 17 in the second half. Tonight, Portland is hoping for similar production when it hosts Cleveland, although that kind of output might not be necessary.
The Cavs, after all, feature the worst record in the NBA at 12-53. But they’ve also beaten the Lakers, and had Portland on the ropes when they first met last month.
And given how the Blazers lost to Charlotte and Atlanta on their last road trip after beating powerhouses such as Orlando and Miami, they know Cleveland is not to be overlooked.
“This can be what some people call a ‘trap game’ where you end up playing a team’s record instead of the game,” McMillan said. “We know how important it is.”
Picking the defining shot from Tuesday’s game could be difficult. Picking the defining non-shot is easy.
Toward the end of the game, with the Blazers rolling, Rudy Fernandez passed up a wide open 3-pointer that eventually led to a Portland turnover. If McMillan’s disapproval wasn’t evident by his livid reaction during the game, he verbalized it to reporters Wednesday.
“I want him to shoot it. He’s gotta shoot it. Take your shot when it’s there,” McMillan said. “He was wide open. You gotta shoot that. When you pass up shots like that, with everybody thinking he’s going to take that shot, usually something bad happens.”
Despite going 2 for 3 from deep Tuesday, Fernandez has been struggling with the longball this year. The Spaniard is a 37 percent career shooter from the outside but just 33.3 percent this year.
McMillan asserted, however, that he still keeps opposing defenses honest. That said, it is quite difficult to track which shots of his work and which ones don’t.
“Just about every shot he takes is different,” McMillan said. “His legs are spread. His right foot is in front of his left. He’s spinning into fadeaway … I haven’t tried to mess with his shot.”
In perhaps a bit of a role reversal, McMillan put some words into the media’s mouth Wednesday when discussing the upcoming game against Cleveland.
“You guys talk about how it’s a guaranteed win,” McMillan said. “You guys are overlooking Cleveland and writing in it’s a for sure win.”
Responded a reporter: “How do you know? You don’t read our (stuff).”
Answered McMillan, lightheartedly: “No, I don’t read your (stuff). You’re exactly right.”