There is no “Sixth Man of the Playoffs” award, but if there were Brandon Roy would be the frontrunner.
He was a game changer for the Trail Blazers off the pine, especially in Game 4 when he had a quarter for the ages that pulled his struggling team up and evened the series (even if that quarter proved to be a mirage for Portland).
His performance had a lot of people thinking about Roy being the next Lamar Odom/Jason Terry/Manu Ginobili — a fantastic player who comes off the bench to change games.
Roy isn’t thinking like that, not in the least, he told the Oregonian.
“I’m going to want to push to be a starter and help this team win. The goal doesn’t change,” Roy said Friday as the Blazers left for the offseason. “I think I definitely want to help this team get in position to win and get out of the first round.”
Good. You don’t want a player thinking any other way.
But Roy needs to come off the bench next season anyway.
This is about reduced minutes for a guy whose knees lack any cartilage. Roy can spend all off-season resting his knees and getting whatever treatments he thinks helped the most, but there is an 82-game grind ahead that is hard on good, healthy knees. (Well, maybe less than 82 after the lockout, we’ll see.) Roy has value but the Blazers need to get him rest. Coming off the bench an help with that.
Of course, if Andre Miller isn’t brought back there are question of who will be the staring point guard for Portland, and Roy is already right there, so… still he would make a fantastic Sixth Man of the Year.
Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.
Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.
It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.
Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.
Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”
Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.
His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.
Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.
He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.
James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.
He didn’t even rank second – or third.
Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.
What happened to the Houston star?
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.
“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”
Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.
But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.