UPDATE 4:07PM... Greg Oden is now listed as "probable (game time decision)" for tomorrow night's game.
Also the rest of this post has now been updated with links and thoughts from practice.
As i tweeted earlier, Nate McMillan told the media today that Greg Oden was not at practice this morning. He is sick with a sinus infection and is being evaluated by the medical staff. He is listed as a game time decision for tomorrow night.
Greg did not practice. Sinus infection. He came up with this morning. So we sent him to the doctor. Right now he's listed as game-time.
The good news: Batum practiced today and is feeling 100%.
For breaking Blazers news as it happens (at practice, before and after games, etc.), please follow Blazersedge on Twitter.
Some end-of-day links.
- Kevin Pelton hit the big time, writing a piece about the Blazers for the Wall Street Journal.
- Ezra Caraeff had a funny playoff preview in the Portland Mercury.
- For a nice summary of today's practice, including a detailed look at defending Yao, check out Joe Freeman's practice report.
- Freeman looks at Aaron Brooks.
- Jason Quick has the goods on Coach Nate's reaction to the Coach of the Month award. Nate was beamin'.
- Henry sent over the Stat Geek Smackdown picks, which show 7 of the 8 experts (including the Blogfather's Mother... would it be disrespectful to refer to her as our collective "bloggy mama"?) picking the Blazers. KP2, in typical homer fashion, picked the Blazers.
Rudy Fernandez's blog name-checked Blazers Edge yesterday (awesome!) and called me "that dude" again. At least I'm not that dude that wrote about his girlfriend in the newspaper. Haha. Hola amigos en España! Me llamo Ben.
- You can read Rudy's translated post over at BustaBucket.
- John Hollinger picks the Blazers.
- Brother Wendell looks at the age issue for the Blazers.
Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! also discusses age.
- Ryan White has some 2008-2009 Blazers highlights.
Nate was pretty vague today. He avoided discussing any specific strategies in detail and said he would stick with the rotations that have worked in recent weeks. He did say he would look to avoid playing anyone more than 40 minutes if possible but admitted that minute-caps don't really apply in the playoffs.
Nate wouldn't commit to much of anything when it came to the guard rotation, despite speculation over the past few weeks that he might shorten things up a bit and nudge Sergio out. As Henry noted this morning, a dominant storyline coming out of Houston is the potential for Aaron Brooks to be an X Factor. This contrasts slightly with Nate's statement today that he believes the series will be decided in the paint.
I tried to prod some information about what he expects from Houston's point guards. Here's what he had to say..
Do you expect to see much of Kyle Lowry?
We don't know. It just depends on what Coach Adelman is thinking, how he wants to attack us. Brooks can play, Lowry has played a lot.
You're saying that the series will be decided in the paint but a lot of writers down in Houston are calling Brooks the X factor.
Alston was the x factor.
When they look at their team, they see Artest and Battier and Yao, well, who is the guy that you really don't know? It's Brooks.
And he's played well against us. We've got to do a better job than we've done in our previous games on him. He's done a nice job of getting in the paint and getting to the basket.
Is Brooks ready to be a playoff point guard?
He's a starting guard so they have confidence in him to put him in that position and to trade their starting guard from the last few years, Alston.
Did that mid-season Alston trade surprise you?
They saw something in him or they didn't see something in Alston that made them make that move. They've been able to do well with this rotation.
Nate played his cards close to his chest all day today but I left with the impression that he believes that this is a match-up that Blake is capable of winning.
Let's hope he's right. Given the home court advantage, if Blake wins his position it's highly unlikely the Rockets will pass through to the second round.
-- Ben (email@example.com)