FanPost

29. L-Train FTW: The View from Milwaukee

Snips and clips from the Bucks' camp, plus:

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  • Brandon Roy's Bad Knees Revisited
  • Haiku Game Review
  • Fried Rice
  • Blazers/Bucks Recap
  • Popcorn Machine
  • The Basketball Jones

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(1)

Got 'Em Where We Want 'Em

Down 20 against a Western Conference foe on the road?
Got 'em right where we want 'em.

posted by TheJay to BrewHoop Gameday Open Thread


Doing the ole rope a dope, wearing em down.

Their shoulders are going to get tired from making all those shots.

posted by Brick's house to BrewHoop Gameday Open Thread

 

(2)

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

posted by Speedingtime to BrewHoop Gameday Open Thread

Merrychristmas_medium


(3)

Time to Tank

posted by JayMKE to RealGM Bucks message board

It's time to tank guys. There are no win now moves.

If we can get rid of Maggette, Gooden, or Salmons do it but this season is pretty much dead. Hope everybody is healthy next year with our high draft pick.

 

(4)

Awful, Awful, Awful

posted by paul to RealGM Bucks message board

Salmons was awful early, as was everyone else except, strangely, Dooling and Gooden.

Salmons was OK in junk time (aka the second half), everyone else complete ass led by Bogut who was absolutely awful. No idea why Skiles had him setting high picks and us shooting jumpers over his head the entire first quarter other than the very first play of the game but that doesn't excuse the [barnyard vulgarity] he served up after that. Terrible performance.

Oh yeah, Scott I know you don't have much to work with right now but here's a tip, when you've got a guy averaging 21 ppg since coming back from injury and your best scorer goes out GIVE HIM THE DAMN BALL. Here's one more, your rotations eat [barnyard vulgarity] and Brockman may be the worst player in the NBA, playing him for extended periods is not a good idea.

K Thanks.

 

(5)

Blazers 106, Bucks 80: Sorry Effort and Execution Doom Milwaukee in First Game without Jennings

by Frank Madden, Brew Hoop (SBN)

The Bucks and Blazers both know a thing or two about injuries. But unfortunately for the Bucks, only the Blazers seem to know how to overcome them.

Despite missing Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby, and Joel Przybilla, the Blazers had no trouble dismissing a Milwaukee team that was missing Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette and looking even more lost than usual on offense. The Bucks came out cold, missing their first five shots, and saw the game effectively slip out of reach during a 34-17 second quarter that saw them down 24 at the half.

Perhaps more worryingly, the Bucks looked simply overwhelmed in the two areas they usually can rely on--on the glass and defensive end. Andrew Bogut and company had no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge (29 pts, 19 rebs) and the Blazers' superior ball movement (27 assists, 10 turnovers), and they looked puny on the boards against a fairly small but active Blazer team that outrebounded them 43-35.

With few exceptions it just seemed as though the Blazers were playing with all the urgency, which is a concerning indicator given how easily the Bucks could let their season get away from them with Jennings out and a tough schedule ahead of them. * * *

 

(6)

Latest Defeat Really Hurts Bucks: Banged-up Milwaukee Struggles Mightily

by Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Brandon Jennings was missing from the Milwaukee Bucks lineup Monday night at the Rose Garden. And the Bucks looked lost without their 21-year-old point guard.

Instead of coming together the way Bucks coach Scott Skiles had hoped, the team struggled both offensively and defensively for long stretches in a 106-80 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. * * *

John Salmons paced the Bucks with 23 points. Center Andrew Bogut had just five points and five rebounds in 26 minutes.

The Trail Blazers have their own injury woes, including Brandon Roy being out for a third straight game with a sore left knee and centers Joel Przybilla (left ankle) and Marcus Camby (right shoulder) also missing the game.

But it hardly seemed to matter as the Trail Blazers bolted to the lead and took advantage of the flat-footed Bucks. * * *

 

 

(7)

Without Brandon Jennings, Who Are These Bucks?

by Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball (TrueHoop)

* * *
If Monday night was any indication, it won't be much worth watching. Generally ball dominant, Jennings was using 26.2% of the Bucks possessions heading into Monday night. In his absence, his teammates general lack of ability with the ball in their hands was on display.

Early on in Portland, the Blazers doubled Andrew Bogut off the ball when the Bucks looked to find him for post-ups inside. When Portland had built a comfortable lead and finally let Bogut catch inside, he was unable to do much with his catches. He made just two of seven shots on the evening on his way to a miserable five point, four rebound effort against a depleted Portland front line.

With Bogut struggling, Milwaukee was left with few other options. Earl Boykins was the recipient of open looks off ball swings a number of times and responded with one jumper off the front of the rim after the next, eventually finishing the evening two of 11 from the field.

Chris Douglas-Roberts had his worst game as a starter, looking out of sync the entire evening while hitting just one of seven shots. It didn't help that John Salmons failed to connect on a shot until Portland's lead had ballooned to 26 points. He would eventually respond strongly with 23 second half points, but Milwaukee cannot function with just one perimeter player scoring and Bogut no-showing. * * *


 

The Bottom Line:

1. Depleted team goes to Western Conference court and gets run over by zamboni — that's pretty much the size of it.

2. A horrible, horrible game by Andrew Bogut. Did Patty Mills get him drunk last night by any chance?

3. Lakers at Staples tomorrow night on a back-to-back. That should be more fun than a barrel of leeches.

 

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It Seems So Obvious...

I spotted something pretty interesting in the December 18 Junk Drawer, a post by one of my all-time favorite Bedgers — annthefan. Annie is a very compassionate person and at a glance she really seemed to have solved a big mystery with regards to the seemingly erratic words of Brandon Roy. Her short post seemed so obvious that I was left wondering how I didn't arrive at the same idea myself.

Here's what Annie wrote:

I think Brandon is going through the 5 stages of grieving.

  •      Denial
  •      Anger
  •      Bargaining
  •      Depression
  •      Acceptance

I don't think he's worked through it to the acceptance part, however.

 

A-ha!

This little insight instantly changed the way I thought about things...

Royprofile_medium

Put yourself in Brandon's shoes for a minute: this guy was the runaway selection as the 2006-07 NBA Rookie of the Year. The next three seasons, Roy was named to the NBA All Star team and he proved he belonged there by turning in quality performances under the bright lights with the league's elite players. He was handed the keys to the team as a second year player when General Manager Kevin Pritchard dumped Zach Randolph for pennies on the dollar. He had been heralded as a "franchise savior," turning around a wretched club and leading it two successive years to the playoffs.

Roy had been rewarded with a maximum contract and if the Blazers hadn't given that to hi m there were ten other teams in the league that would have. A favorite am ong NBA coaches and widely respected by his peers — a fundamentally sound, difficult to defend, old school type player. 

Roy's game is based upon isolations, the premise being that he can beat anyone in the league going one-on-one. A quick first step is what it's all about — if a defender doesn't respect that, Roy is gone. If he does rock back on his heels on the first step, Roy has the ability to pull up and elevate, the open space created by the defender's backwards movement more than sufficient to give the 6'6" Roy a wide open look. And even if the defender does respect th e first step, Roy is big enough and strong enough to continue straight through the defender and finish successfully at the rim with either hand.

It is no accident that MVP Kobe Bryant has called Roy his most difficult defensive assignment in the NBA. Roy was, quite simply, on a Hall of Fame track...

All this was based, I emphasize again, on the quick first step and the attacking position or pull-up space which Roy creates on the basis of that first fast move off the dribble. No quick first step, no threat to powerfully blow by and finish at the rim, no Brandon Roy as we know him.

Then, suddenly — it was over. The spirit was willing, the body unable to perform. The quick first step that made possible his aggression and defined his existence as a professional basketball player was gone.

It was as if he lost his foot in a car accident, a legitimate cause for grief.

Annie's theory seemed logical and obvious to me. Would the Brandon Roy soap opera now make more sense if we re-watched the entire saga with Brandon Roy Empathy Goggles on?

I decided to find out by mining the archives to see if my friend Annie's analysis fit the facts.

What I discovered surprised me.

 

Rewinding the Brandon Roy Quotes

Injury, Recovery, and Early Warning Signs

Let's begin with the point at which the Roy Express is widely believed to have gone off the tracks, following his April 2010 knee surgery. After having been injured in the April 11 Lakers game, the Blazers' 80th game of last season, Brandon rushed back from arthroscopic surgery to give his team an emotional lift in the playoff series with Phoenix.

Unfortunately, Roy's on-court results after the surgery were less than Brandonesque. The Oregonian's Joe Freeman offered the following epitaph on Roy's role in the Phoenix series:

Brandon Roy Makes Inspired Effort, but Blazers Come Up Short

by Joe Freeman, The Oregonian, April 29, 2010

* * *

As the obituary of the Blazers' opening round playoff series loss to the Suns gets drawn up and debated in the days ahead, part of the conversation will no doubt turn to Roy's final two games. Should Roy have played? And did he ultimately help the Blazers?

In a gutsy performance that further cemented his warrior reputation, Roy's stunning return just eight days after knee surgery no doubt inspired a sellout Rose Garden crowd and provided an emotional boost in Game 4 that allowed the Blazers to stretch their first-round playoff series to six games.

But his subpar play in Games 5 and 6 raised doubt about how much he truly helped his team. Roy's combined statistics in the final two games (19 points, six rebounds, five assists) read like an average Roy performance when he's healthy. His shooting numbers in those games (6 of 23, 1 of 10 from three-point range) were not pretty.  * * *

Roy lacked his usual explosiveness and athleticism, clearing feeling the effects of surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee, and had difficulty creating scoring opportunities for himself.  * * *

Note first off that it was his right knee injured in Game 80 against the Lakers, not his previously injured left knee — the one which is giving him problems now. Whatever we see today really wasn't something which happened at the end of last year.

Brandon's comeback was heroic and gave the team an emotional lift, all agree. Whether the presence of a dinged Roy helped or hindered the team's pursuit of victories remains a matter of debate. Be that as it may, Freeman's words about the post-surgery Roy sound prescient: "Roy lacked his usual explosiveness and athleticism...and had difficulty creating scoring opportunities for himself."

That's exactly what's going on now, is it not?

At the time it seemed that the issue at hand was just a matter of Brandon having attempted to come back too quickly. Strength would be regained and explosiveness restored over the course of a normal recovery process.

In the off-season the Blazers hired a personal trainer for Roy and he worked hard, concentrating building up his body and working on his on-ball skills. He was looking fit. During the summer Joe Freeman checked in with Roy to see how his knee was progressing...

July 18, 2010 interview with Joe Freeman:

Q: How's your knee feeling?

Roy: Great. People still don't believe me, but when I came back against Phoenix (in the playoffs), it felt great. I didn't have the strength to necessarily run and explode. But I have all that back now. I'm back running and jumping and I'm dunking again. I'm excited about that. But, again, this is something that I'm going to pay attention to for the rest of my career....

If we take Roy at his word — and there is no reason not to do that — after the surgery, Roy's left knee felt fine but the leg lacked the strength necessary for his patented quick first step. All was well. But read that again: "this is something that I'm going to pay attention to for the rest of my career."

The upbeat comments which Roy made during the summer in civvies were followed by the actual games of the NBA pre-season. The evidence was not as rosy. What followed were, in the words of The Oregonian's Joe Freeman,  "a lackluster run of iffy exhibition performances." It was only in the final game of the preseason, the October 21 contest against the Nuggets, in which Roy seemed to stop coasting and to approach the game with anything like full intensity. Still, Brandon was inefficient in getting to his 23 points, hitting just 6 of 20 shots from the field.

No worries...

The season began, and for the first seven games everything was hunky-dory, with Roy averaging 22 points per game and the team putting up 5 wins against 2 losses. Then suddenly there came the first red flag of the season, the November 7 back-to-back against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Something was obviously not right, as The Oregonian's Jason Quick noted at the time:

Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy Amiss, and a Miss and a Miss and a Miss

by Jason Quick, The Oregonian, Nov. 8, 2010

Not all is well with the body, and mind, of Trail Blazers star Brandon Roy.

It was there for all to see on Sunday in the Blazers' flameout loss to the Lakers when Roy was a shell of himself while going 1-for-6 from the field in one of the most disinterested, and therefore confusing, games Roy has played in his five seasons in Portland.

After the game, Roy was reluctant to get real, dancing around questions about his body and his mindset.

"It's delicate," Roy said of both subjects. * * *

"My body is what it is," Roy said. "I mean, it feels pretty good, but it's felt better. What I feel ... there's nothing magical that's going to change. My body is good enough to go out there and play."  *  *  *

Quick believed that deeper than the physical concerns were Roy's mental funk over the lack of floor-spacing perimeter shooters — crease-creating firepower formerly provided by New Jersey Net Travis Outlaw and newly minted Laker Steve Blake. 

"We almost have a whole new roster as we did two years agoso things aren't going to be the same as they were," Roy stated after the embarrassing 25-point blowout loss to the Lakers — a game in which Brandon scored just 8 points.

Ron Artest, who in the spring of 2009 called Roy the "best player" he had ever faced, was the first to advance the view that what was awry with Brandon was physical rather than psychological or related to the makeup of the Blazers complementary personnel.

"I think he was hurt," Artest stated after the game. "Back, or knee or something. He wasn't himself. I've played against Brandon Roy a lot of times. He wasn't himself."

Phil Jackson agreed that something was amiss, declaring, "It looked to me like he was not ready to attack as much as he normally is. It looked like he was a little hesitant out there."

Nate McMillan, on the other hand, was sanguine about Roy's bad game, noting Brandon's recent strong performances before declaring "If this were December, yeah, then I'd be concerned."

 

Are We Concerned Yet?

Following Portland's Tuesday, November 9 shootaround, Brandon Roy confirmed that Ron Artest and Phil Jackson's widely repeated comments were right — that not all was well with his body.

Brandon Roy Says His Body Tells Him It's Time for the Trail Blazers to Reduce His Playing Time

Jason Quick, The Oregonian, Nov. 9, 2010

A dejected Brandon Roy on Tuesday said the time has come for the Trail Blazers to reduce his playing time because his body can no longer withstand repeated games of high minutes. * * *

"Does it concern me? Yeah," Roy said. "I would love to play more minutes and have a much better body, but it's just not the case, so I have to try and make the most of what it is. I had a phone call yesterday and in talking to a few people, it is somewhat of a reality check. This is what it is, and now you have to make the most of it."  * * *

"I have to try and preserve as much as I can," Roy said. "The biggest thing is if we can limit the minutes I can be more explosive instead of trying to run along for 40 minutes. That's maybe just too much time."

Roy said his surgically repaired right knee is not necessarily bothering him, but also said it's "something I have to continue to deal with.''

"I wouldn't say that. The knee is kind of what it is," Roy said. "I've been doing things off the court to strengthen it and I continue to work with (trainer) Jay (Jensen) and those guys, and we are still trying to figure out an answer for it."  * * *

Quick observed that the nature of Roy's game had noticeably changed. "Once an explosive and crafty penetrator, Roy has become a jump shooter," Quick declared.

Portland's next game, at home November 9 against the Pistons, was a double-digit victory in which Head Coach Nate McMillan played Roy a season-low 21 minutes. Following his removal from the game, Roy sat on the bench with an ice bag on his right knee — but after the game it was his left knee that underwent scrutiny from team physicians.

On Friday, November 12, Blazer GM Rich Cho flew to Los Angeles to visit noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, to whom he delivered imagery of Roy's troubled left knee. ElAttrache agreed with the Blazers' diagnosis that no additional surgery on Roy was merited. Since the Blazers' staff felt that no new acute injury had occurred, no new MRI of Brandon's joint was made. It was instead a recurrence of the swelling and pain which Roy experienced each basketball season, team officials said.

Then, following the Blazers' loss that night in Oklahoma City, Quick dropped a bombshell which is still reverberating around the NBA:

No Surgery for Brandon Roy, but Continued Pain

by Jason Quick, The Oregonian Blazers Insider, Nov. 12, 2010

* * *

...Before anyone gets too carried away with the second opinion of Dr. Neal ElAttrache, take a deep breath, swallow hard and realize the reason no surgery was recommended: There's no meniscus left to operate on in Roy's left knee.

"Nah. None. Not in my right, either," Roy said Friday [Nov. 12].

The reason Roy's knee has been swelling up regularly, to the point where it has already been drained twice by Blazers' doctor Don Roberts this season, is because there is no cartilage to absorb the pounding associated with running and jumping.

"The problem is bone-on-bone there," Roy said. "Dr. Roberts calls it 'arthritic knee.' It's just something I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my career."  * * *

That news changed everything.

To Brandon Roy, this was nothing new, bear in mind. While Blazer fans felt as though their hero had suddenly been run down by a New York City taxi this was all a long-time part of daily life for Brandon Roy as a professional basketball player. There was no great loss to grieve, it was more of the same for him.

Microfracture surgery would be not help, it was decided; rather Brandon's future would be one of anti-inflammatory drugs taken to reduce swelling in combination with more carefully monitored levels of playing time.

Roy's positive outlook following Game 10 in Oklahoma City proved to be short-lived. After the game the Blazers made their way to New Orleans to play the next night against Monty Williams' red hot New Orleans Hornets. Roy would leave the game in pain after making a routine cut, with Brandon heading off the floor and to the locker room, limping hard from his aching left knee.

Coming on the heels of the startling revelation that he had been playing "bone-on-bone" in both knees, Roy's open-court injury in New Orleans sent 24/7 sports news and internet blab into overdrive. Eulogies were given over the apparent end of a Hall of Fame caliber career.

But read Brandon's own words in the report from New Orleans by Jason Quick:

Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy Leaves Game in New Orleans with Left Knee Injury

by Jason Quick, The Oregonian, Nov. 13, 2010

* * *

Roy said he spoke briefly on the phone with Roberts on Saturday night and said the plan was to evaluate his knee Sunday over the phone after it had a chance to calm down.

"Right now, I'm just going to go with calling it a sore knee,'' Roy said. "I couldn't even describe it to the doctors. It was ... discomfort."  * * *

"It was a sharper pain," Roy said.

"I'm not going to speculate," Roy said. "I'm just going to take it day-by-day and see how it feels. I felt that sharp pain, and it wasn't going away, so I felt it was best I go out of the game. The biggest thing for me right now is not to think too far ahead."  * * *

The breathless national speculation about Brandon Roy unquestionably rocked Blazer Nation — but to Brandon this was little more than a "tweak" of a long-existing condition. The prescription was not retirement, as the more hysterical voices began to bray, but rather a period of rest and recuperation to allow things to "calm down."

This is exactly what happened. Brandon Roy was shut down for the next three games, in Memphis and home again against Denver and Utah. When combined with a Thanksgiving-related break in the schedule, this gave Roy nearly two weeks of recovery time — no action from November 14 until the Blazers met the Hornets again at the Rose Garden on the night of November 26.

The pause temporarily rejuvenated Roy, with the star scoring 27 points in his return game and scoring in double digits in 8 of the next 9 games. During this stretch, Roy averaged 18.1 points — not All Star caliber scoring, to be sure, but not chopped liver either. The team looked terrible, mind you, losing Roy's first 5 games back, including crap fiestas in Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC against some of the worst teams in the NBA. But still: in games 15 to 23, Brandon Roy appeared to be once again a more or less functional player, albeit in a limited rendition of his former capabilities.

Roy's attenuated skills were lost on no serious follower of the team. After the December 10 Blazer victory in Phoenix, Brandon Roy spoke extensively with Oregonian Blazer beat reporter Joe Freeman:

Brandon Roy is Done Playing with Minute Restrictions and Says "I have an attitude"

Joe Freeman, OregonLive, Dec. 10, 2010

* * *
Q: Obviously your body is not allowing you to do some of the things you used to do. How are you finding that balance?

Roy: "Not worrying about it anymore. If I'm going to be hurt, I'm going to be hurt. If I'm going to play, I'm going to play. So no more trying to balance it during games. If I'm going to play, I'm going to play. If I feel good enough, then I'm going to play."

Q: So you feel like you're holding yourself back?

Roy: "Maybe a little bit. Like I said, most things that go on with me are usually myself. There are some things that were bugging me early and I think some of the treatments and things I've been doing has helped. So I feel like, hey, let's go play."  * * *

As of just 10 days ago, Roy clearly was not feeling himself to be permanently nicked. If this were five stages of grief, Roy would be characterized as firmly entrenched in the first stage, that of denial. But even this is a forced reading of the situation. In Brandon's eyes, things were feeling good and it was time to play again.

 

Portland, We've Got a Problem

Unfortunately, Brandon Roy's three most recent games have been a catastrophe. In San Antonio, Memphis, and Dallas, Brandon Roy managed to score a combined total of 20 points — less than his career average for a single game — while playing a total of 99 minutes. In these three contests Roy shot an abysmal 9-for-37 from the field (24.3%), forcing up bad jumpers as the Blazers went to defeat again and again and again.

Following the second of these debacles, Jason Quick revisited the issue of Brandon's chronic knee condition and its obvious impact upon his game:

What in the Name of Quentin Richardson is Going on with Brandon Roy? It's the Team's 'Rhythm' if You Ask the Trail Blazers' Star

by Jason Quick, The Oregonian, Dec. 14, 2010

* * *
[Roy] has noticeably hobbled through games ever since the Nov. 7 game at the Lakers, the season's eighth game. On Nov. 13, he removed himself from the third quarter at New Orleans, then was held out for the next three games.

Since returning, Roy has shown flashes of the old Roy: he scored 27 against New Orleans on Nov. 27, then had 26 on Friday at Phoenix.

Roy was asked if he feels his knees are capable of letting him be a go-to player.

"Yeah," Roy said. "But our style of play, with our personnel, it's still going to be tough."  * * *

"When I get in the paint, the whole defense is collapsing,'' Roy said. "They are forcing other guys to beat us. You know, a lot has changed. I say it a lot, but a lot has changed as far as this team."  * * *

Roy is continuing to see as the primary issue not his own physical limitations, but rather a combination of the team's jumper-dominated style of play combined with the current personnel — devoid of guys capable of making them. Stated concisely: "It's not me, it's them."

"I wasn't that slow until you put a guy who is kinda slow next to me," Roy famously declared.

As we all know, Roy's thinly-veiled insult of Andre Millier and his other teammates drew a rather tepid apology:

Brandon Roy Apologizes to Trail Blazers Teammates for 'Inappropriate' Comments

by Jason Quick, The Oregonian, Dec. 15, 2010

Brandon Roy on Wednesday concluded the Trail Blazers' shootaround by standing in front of the team and apologizing for making what he called "inappropriate" comments after Monday night's loss in Memphis.

"I just told them some things that I said were inappropriate, and I have to be smarter about that," Roy said. "We are all frustrated. But the biggest key, and the biggest message was we have to stick together with this." * * *

"I felt it needed to be addressed,'' Roy said. "So I apologized about the comments that were made. I told them I don't want to be pointing fingers at anybody. This is a situation where I'm not playing the way I want to play, and we are all frustrated. Nobody wants to lose. But I was wrong for what I said, and I will definitely take full responsibility. It shouldn't have been said." * * *

"They didn't say anything," Roy said. "I don't think guys were conscious with what was even going on. These guys are all good guys, and I don't think any of us want to make one another look bad." * * *

The phrasing of Roy's apology and its sincerity has been questioned by some in the media. In my view, that's less important than the takeaway here, Roy's statement that "I'm not playing the way I want to play" and that frustration and ill-considered words had been the result.

"We're cool," Andre Miller replied, ever the professional.

Which brings us to our most recent injury interruption...

Trail Blazers All-Star Brandon Roy Shut Down, Will Miss at Least Three Games with Sore Left Knee

by Joe Freeman, The Oregonian, Dec. 17, 2010

The Trail Blazers have decided to shut Brandon Roy down for at least three games — again — as the All-Star guard continues to endure pain in his balky left knee.

Roy, who has failed to reach double figures in scoring in four of the last five games, has rarely resembled the All-Star player that Blazers fans have grown accustomed to and he looked like a shell of his former self during the Blazers' 103-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.

As much as at any time this season, Roy lacked explosiveness and athleticism and finished with just four points. * * *

"I think at times the guys were watching me and wondering, ‘OK, is this Brandon time or not?'" Roy said, when asked if his play had been hurting the team. "And just not being able to fully engage in some moments out there against Dallas made me decide, ‘Hey, I think this is something I need to maybe rest up a little bit.' Because I didn't feel like I was helping the team."  * * *

The Blazers plan to reevaluate Roy's knee after the Blazers' three-game home stand... It's possible he will miss more than just the three-game stretch. And when he does return, it could be with a different role. * * *

Roy reference to himself in the third person ("Brandon time") is disconcerting. Beyond that, it is clear that there is no "acceptance" whatsoever on the part of Roy that he is the victim of a chronic and career-altering injury. Brandon, fairly obviously, does not see himself the way fans in Portland and around the NBA are seeing him. In light of the evidence, Ann the Fan's "Stages of Grief" thesis only makes sense to the extent that we could all agree that Brandon is in denial.

Combining Roy's latest shutdown with the pre-Christmas break will give Brandon at least 9 days of rest  — from December 16 to the 24th — before his next possible return to the hardwood on Christmas day in Oakland against the Warriors.

Will this extended rest help Brandon's numbers? Quite possibly.

Will Roy be able to come back and manage himself through the rest of the NBA season? Again, quite possibly.

Will Brandon's return in his 2010-11 form actually help the Blazers win games? This is a rather more difficult thing to judge.

Let's take a look at the numbers...

 

Brandon Roy by the Numbers

I decided to break out Brandon's stats for the year to determine how well the deterioration of his game that we see with our eyes can be documented statistically. Is Brandon scoring fewer points — and doing that less efficiently?

 

Roystats_medium

Where:

MIN: Minutes Played

PTS: Points Scored

SHT: Shots Used (field goal attempts + free throws divided by 2, with odd numbers rounded down.)

P/S: Points Scored per Shots Used

REB: Rebounds

AST: Assists

TO: Turnovers

All numbers are per game, not per 36 minutes played.

Tail end of back-to-back games are shown in bold; numbers generated in losing efforts are shown in red.

 

A. The first thing that jumps off the page at me is the team's record: 10-13 (.435) with Brandon, 4-1 (.800) without him. This is a counterintuitive set of results if Brandon is truly the "franchise player." 

B. The second thing we notice is the precipitous decline of Brandon's scoring efficiency (points scored per shot used) when he is "tweaked." On Nov. 7 against the Lakers, when Artest could see it, Roy was just 1-for-6 from the field, but he managed to recover a modicum of scoring efficiency by getting to the FT line 3 times and hitting all 6 attempts. In the Nov. 13 game at New Orleans when Brandon pulled himself out of the game Roy used 7 shots to score just two points; similarly, in his last three games before Brandon was shut down again, we see single digit scoring with 0.7 or fewer points scored per shot used.

Over all, during the first 10 games of the year, when Brandon was rolling along prior to the Nov. 13 affair in New Orleans, Roy produced 0.9 or more points per shot used. Everybody has bad shooting games, but the difference between the first 10 games versus the New Orleans game and Brandon's last three games seems obvious and striking.

C. We also see a return to form in scoring efficiency in the 9 games following Brandon's first 3 game break. Even during the long losing streak, Roy was producing points at his "normal" rate of 0.9 points per shot used or greater. This indicates that the strategy of sitting Brandon down for a week may produce a "useable" rendition of Roy for an interval. (Whether this "useable" Roy produces victories or losses for the Blazers is another question altogether).

D. With regards to tail ends of back-to-backs, the Blazers are 4-4 — the same exact .500 winning percentage that the team has produced in non-back-to-back games. But what about Brandon?

Two of Roy's most efficient scoring games have been in tail ends of back-to-backs (Game 18 at Boston, Game 22 at Phoenix). But Roy's two worst games were also in back-to-backs (Game 11 at New Orleans, in which he was injured, and Game 25 at San Antonio). Is there an additional risk factor involved in Roy playing in such games? Quite possibly, yes.

 

What Have We Learned?

Roy is nowhere close to "accepting" that he has a chronic career-changing injury but rather sees his condition as a set of discrete injuries, after each of which recovery takes place.

Roy recognizes he has a propensity to these injuries and always will for the rest of his career.

It is possible that Portland playing Roy in back-to-backs may increase the likelihood of one of these discrete injuries.

Sitting a "tweaked" Roy for 10 days or 2 weeks may be sufficient to restore him as a reasonably efficient scorer for a number of games afterwards.

Given the currently physical limitations upon his style of play, the Blazers are not necessarily a better team in terms of wins and losses with Roy than without Roy.

 


*   *   *

 

Timlogo-haiku_medium

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.

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A slow game scheduled

"Will they break 80?" they ask

So-called experts wrong

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Hear the great Uncle Mike and obey, children...

Friedrice_medium

I'm going to go to the Rose Garden right now and do something about Mike Rice's hair! Ridiculous!

                                                                                                                  — posted by jenstcy to BE Gameday Open Thread

 

Size is relative...

MB: "Patty looks like a large guard against Earl Boykins."

 

Ricey is extremely interested in the hot little Santa girl outfits the Blazer dancers were flaunting... MB cuts him off.

Rice: "They tell me they want an article on all the other dance teams..."

MB: "Who did? Did you tell them you can't type???"

Rice: "I'll do it in longhand."

MB: "You'd better stop right there. Part of my job is protecting you from yourself."

 

Is Ricey's mom watching?

Rice: "My mother will tell me about my new haircut, how much she likes it."

MB: "Oh, it looks fantastic!"

(Cut to Rice showing it on camera)

MB: The plugs are coming in nicely!"

 

Another good, solid hard foul by Drew Gooden... Hyperbole flows...

MB: "That's the second time they could have called a Flagrant on Gooden."

Rice: "You could get two years for that!"

 

MB keeps us posted on the festivities during intermission...

A little human bowling during the break. It's always entertaining to see men dressed in elf suits used as human bowling balls.

 

Rice, really searching for an exciting call...

"A great high-low play by LUKE BABBITT, the Nevada Flash!!!"

 

Babbitt follows up with an ugly, ugly brick...

"Babbitt got a little excited on that jumpshot — people in the front row could get hurt!'

 

 

 

 

Game 29.

Bucks 80 at Blazers 106 .

December 20, 2010.

Blazers' record is now 15-14, the Bucks are 10-16.

I've got more bullets than Ted Nugent's crazy Uncle Maynard...

  • Two Aussies and a Kiwi in one NBA game? Too weird for words.
  • Patty Mills is a ham and is gonna make a lot of money in television some day. I wonder if ESPN has conquered Australia yet...
  • Dwight Jaynes: "We might see the slowest paced game we've seen all year — it might be 65-63." Oh goody, I can't wait.
  • Oh wait, I just saw something I want to watch less: "Talking Ducks" for an hour every night for the next week. I'd rather plug in and jam a Conair curling iron up my nose.
  • Dwight Jaynes with a nice interview with Andre Miller in the pregame. Andre: "I don't care if it's 30 minutes or 38 minutes but I feel like I can play on both ends of the court at a high level." That's not an exact quote, but it's close.
  • Jaynes afterwards: "What we're dealing with is an All Star player that's never made the All Star team." You are correct, sir.
  • Andre Miller is #3 among active players in the NBA in Assists.
  • Quick on Roy: "They're still undecided as to whether he'll play on Christmas day." Gonna examine him on Wednesday and Thursday and then we'll see. I wouldn't be too surprised if they hold him out for the next game at Utah. Roy running and gunning in Oakland isn't gonna be an asset, the next three games after that are more importance.
  • Ian Anchorman on the Blazers' consecutive sellouts streak: "I'm sure it's sold out — they'll say it's sold out anyway." (Laughs.) That streak is OVER by the way, as our friends at Rip City Project have demonstrated with THISTHAT, and THE OTHER pictures of empty blocks of seats in the RG at the T-Wolves game. Stop lying, Blazers!
  • Wesley Matthews is Marty Webster 2.0. But it was never an either/or, y'all...
  • Dante Cunningham: Portland team leader in the use of "you know." He cranked out about 8 of them in a 30 second sound bite. That's not easy. In fact it was actually, you know, very impressive, you know.
  • MB: No worries, the Blazers are only 2 games off of last year's pace. Ummm, no sale with me.
  • Blazers and Bucks are both missing their Brandons for this one. That's probably a wash, I'm not a fan of either one.
  • IT'S GAMETIME!!!  Can I have a "woot," brothers and sisters?
  • Dante Cunningham (6'8") listed as the starting Center tonight against 7-footer Andrew Bogut. Rrrrrrrrrrright!
  • LMA first foul on Andrew Bogut: 14 seconds elapsed.
  • Blazer out to a 6-1 lead to open.
  • "Center" Dante Cunningham rolls his ankle badly at the 7:38 mark and he's gone, you know. Maybe Nate will give Armon a couple minutes at Center tonight. That plus his usual 1.6 minutes at Point Guard will get him up towards the 5 minutes mark.
  • Nate comes up with a brilliant idea: actually using his backup Center at Center. Sean Marks came on quickly picked up a block.
  • "Ilyasova" is a women's name — the masculine version would be Ilyasov. I'm a old Russian Area Studies dude and it drives me absolutely nuts. Dude is Turkish rather than a Slav so he probably even doesn't know...
  • Blazer lead went to double digits for the first time at about the 6 minute mark.
  • Wesley on fire with 3 straight treys. MB promptly proclaims him a "streak shooter" for the first time.
  • Marks crumples to the floor after an extremely hard Gooden foul. MB: "He might have hurt his arm." Marks lamarcuses the FTs.
  • Marks hits an 18 footer. "He can make that shot," Rice assures us. Well, yes, he just did.
  • Commercial break just outside of 3 minutes: Bucks shooting 29%, Blazers shooting 60%. Guess who's ahead.
  • The inactive Brandon Roy actually makes it to the bench tonight. The team is no doubt honored.
  • Milwaukee finished strong, cutting the 14 point lead to 7 at the break.
  • Bogut finished with zero shots in the 1st Quarter.
  • END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: PDX 25, MIL 18.
  • LMA jams over Bogut. Noice!
  • Marks throws a 50 foot outlet pass, on the money. That, I like.
  • It was a low-pressure game. MB wasn't soiling his Depends and I got up and made myself a frozen pizza, keeping half an eye on the action. It does take a while to make a frozen pizza properly, you know. You start with a Freschetta 4 cheese, spike it with more moz and some low fat turkey pepperoni, lay some asiago on top of it, and there you have it. Yum, Sadly, I'm now out of beer. It just doesn't seem right.
  • Even Babbitt scored, with Andre Miller netting a very nice touch pass assist on the play.
  • I reckon that all the commentators were half right about the pace of this game...
  • HALFTIME SCORE: PDX 59, MIL 35. Portland shooting 50% for the half.

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: The Jam  "Art School"  (1977)    LYRICS

  • MB is happy, Portland started the 3rd Quarter with a bucket and opened their largest lead of the game. It can only go downhill from here, eh? Still, he's at peace with the fact that this one is a sure win at this point.
  • Wesley with a dumb 4th foul on the boards and he heads off... Outside of a few nice bombs early, this isn't really his night. Rudy and Nic are looking inspired.
  • Everyone who is worried because Brandon Roy isn't in this game, raise your hand... What, nobody?
  • Bogut hit his first FG with 5:45 remaining.
  • Nico picks up a $2000 technical for soccer kicking a dead ball off the backboard. Rice suggests that the money might have been better spent taking the color commentator out to dinner.
  • At the last commercial, Portland lead by 19 as LMA prepared to go to the line to lamarcus a pair of FTs. Coming back he hit them both for an entertaining change of pace.
  • Sweet move by Patty Mills spinning to dish to Rudy on a drive rather than get capped by "Mootay" (as Rice calls Luc Mbah a Moute).
  • Blazers finished sloppy but the Bucks are so short handed that they couldn't do much and finished the 3rd Quarter in an 18 point hole.
  • END OF THE THIRD: PDX 78, MIL 60. Portland turning in a 19 point quarter, now shooting 47% for the game.
  • Armon Johnson opened up the 4th getting his first minutes. It took him 8 seconds to pick up a foul.
  • Milwaukee playing defense and Portland shooting bad jumpers and MB is back in his element... "Believe me, all the season ticket holders who are here tonight are well aware of Portland's 4th Quarter troubles, and thus the nervous feelings.
  • Blazers' lead was cut to 13 at the 10:00 mark with an Earl Boykins trey. Nate wisely decided to stop screwing around and reinserted three starters.
  • Violet Palmer has a new haircut, just like Mike Rice. I like her hair better.
  • MB: "Rudy Fernandez is playing the best ball of his Blazers' career right now."
  • LMA is sitting at 24 and 17 the 5:15 commercial as Rudy picks up his 7th Assist. The team is running, the ball is moving, and the Blazers are fun to watch and winning to boot. And why exactly does this team need ball-hoggin' Grandma Roy again?
  • Bucks were demoralized in the 4th Quarter and Portland pretty much scored at will.
  • Adam Babbitt is thoroughly worthless. I can not say that frequently enough. I'm sure his mama loves him though.
  • Crowd chants "CHA - LOO- PUH!!! CHA - LOO - PUH!!!" Babbitt hits it.
  • LMA leaves to a standing ovation, 29 and 19. Somewhere in California, Mr. Snake is heard moaning, his world crumbling before his eyes.
  • FINAL SCORE: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 106, MILWAUKEE BUCKS RESERVES 80.
  • Portland is now 5-1 without Brandon Roy.

 

 

Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?

Popcornlogo_medium

Hot diggity, popcorn's done... Grab yourself a bowl by CLICKING THIS LINK. Do it now...

A. Wire to wire win for the Blazers. Yaay.

B. LMA put in a full day at the office — 44 minutes to get his 29 points and 19 rebounds. Doesn't 30 and 20 sound a lot better?

C. Luke Babbitt played the entire 4th Quarter.

D. Wesley had a quiet 22 points in just over 28 minutes on the floor.

E. Nice game for Rudy — 17 points on a night when he really didn't have the touch from the arc.

F. Blazers shot 50% from the field again.

 

 

Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?

Tbjlogo_medium

Here's Tuesday's show...

Here is Monday's edition of TBJ, in case you missed it...


The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.

 

Brandon Roy's Balky Knees Sources: 

Thanks to Messrs. Freeman and Quick of The Oregonian for their outstanding coverage of the Blazers this season.

Joe Freeman, "Brandon Roy Makes Inspired Effort, But Blazers Come Up Short," The Oregonian, April 29, 2010. 

Joe Freeman, "Trail Blazers interview: Brandon Roy Discusses Everything from the General Manager Search to Rudy Fernandez to Greg Oden," OregonLive.com/, July 18, 2010.

Joe Freeman, "Trail Blazers 90, Denver 83: Brandon Roy Awakens from Offensive Slumber," The Oregonian, Oct. 21, 2010.

Brian Kamenetzky, "Lakers 121, Portland 96: At the Buzzer," Land-o'-Lakers blog, ESPN-LosAngeles, Nov. 7, 2010.

Jason Quick, "Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy Amiss, and a Miss and a Miss and a Miss," The Oregonian, Nov. 8, 2010.

Jason Quick, "Brandon Roy Says His Body Tells Him It's Time for the Trail Blazers to Reduce His Playing Time," The Oregonian, Nov. 9, 2010.

Joe Freeman, "Portland 100, Detroit 78: Roy Shaky; Aldridge's Double-Double Leads Blazers Past Pistons," The Oregonian, Nov. 9, 2010; revised Nov. 17.

Jason Quick, "No Surgery, Just Rest and Monitored Minutes, for Brandon Roy's Aching Left Knee," The Oregonian, Nov. 12, 2010.

Jason Quick, "No Surgery for Brandon Roy, but Continued Pain," The Oregonian Blazers Insider, Nov. 12, 2010.

Jason Quick, "Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy Leaves Game in New Orleans with Left Knee Injury," The Oregonian, Nov. 13, 2010.

Joe Freeman, "Brandon Roy is Done Playing with Minute Restrictions and Says 'I have an attitude,'" Oregon Live, Dec. 10, 2010.

Jason Quick, "What in the Name of Quentin Richardson is Going on with Brandon Roy? It's the Team's 'Rhythm' if You Ask the Trail Blazers' Star," The Oregonian, Dec. 14, 2010.

Jason Quick, "Brandon Roy Apologizes to Trail Blazers Teammates for 'Inappropriate' Comments," The Oregonian,Dec. 15, 2010.

Jason Quick, "After Listening to Brandon Roy's Apology, Andre Miller says 'We're Cool,'" The Oregonian, Dec. 15, 2010.

Joe Freeman, "Trail Blazers All-Star Brandon Roy Shut Down, Will Miss at Least Three Games with Sore Left Knee," The Oregonian, Dec. 17, 2010.

"Brandon Roy 2010-11 Game Log," www.basketball-reference.com/  Retrieved Dec. 19, 2010.

 

 

Photo Credit: Brandon Roy profile: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press. Image heavily tweaked in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.

 

 

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