McMillan warns Blazers against being spectators

Coach: Displaying ‘3 Goggles’ OK if you get back on defense

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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The Blazers watched film on the practice facility floor Friday, the session taking place just a few feet from the media room’s wooden door. It’s not exactly sound proof.

And while breaking down tape from Thursday’s win over Cleveland, Portland coach Nate McMillan couldn’t help but single out a play in which an unnamed Blazer threw up the now uber-famous ‘3 Goggles,’ only to pay for it a few seconds later.

“There are the 3 Goggles,” McMillan said. “But they must be bifocals because we’re not seeing guys blow by us.”

McMillan has expressed in weeks past that while he’s not planning to put a moratorium on the imaginary lenses, shooters’ inclination to wear them is hindering the team’s transition defense.

“We’ve talked about it. This thing is nationwide,” McMillan added. “You got guys posing — get back on defense.”

Then McMillan did his best Johnnie Cochran impression.

“They’ve made a 3 ... get back on D.”

Point guards sparse

Andre Miller was excused from practice Friday to attend to a family matter, although no specifics were given. It is unknown whether he’ll play tonight against Philadelpha.

Fellow point guard Armon Johnson, meanwhile, lacerated his right knee while playing in 3-on-3 drills before practice. McMillan said he is probable for tonight.

A lack of personnel may have been acceptable Thursday in a 111-70 win over the Cavs, but it could make things difficult tonight against the 76ers (35-33), who are 8-4 since the All-Star break. Last year, Philadelphia finished 27-55, but coach Doug Collins has turned things around.

“Doug’s a good coach,” McMillan said. “Those guys play hard. They’re doing some good things. Their bench is one of the top scoring benches in the league.”

McMillan also discussed forward Luke Babbitt, who has spent the past couple weeks playing for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Development League and is coming off a 30-point game Wednesday night.

“He’s doing a nice job,” said McMillan, adding that Blazers general manager Rich Cho is currently in Idaho watching Babbitt. “It’s all mental for rookies. They’re trying to figure out the league and establish themselves. So a lot of it is mental and adjusting to the NBA lifestyle and everything that goes along with it.”

Sympathy for Scott

McMillan came to Portland six years ago to rebuild a struggling franchise, so he can certainly empathize with Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, who watched the Blazers beat his team by 41 points Thursday.

Does he feel for him?

“We all have to deal with situations. Byron had an idea of what he was going through. My thing is trying to win my game,” McMillan said. “You have to go through tough times. Sometimes people are knocked down and you have to get back up. But Byron has been in the Finals — I’m trying to get there.”