Friday, February 27, 2009
Focusing On Needs, Not Knees
Brandon Roy didn’t call tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves a must win. He didn’t build it up to be something bigger than it is. But Roy knows that with just 25 games remaining, every contest is an important one.
So when Roy was asked about tonight’s game during his most recent appearance on KJR-AM in Seattle, he said but three words.
“We need it.”
Back-to-back road losses to the Rockets and Spurs are unfortunate but understandable. Both those teams, despite significant injuries, are playing like the veteran-laden squads they are. Road wins are hard to come by in the Western Conference, especially in Texas.
But tonight’s game against the Timberwolves is different. They too have had been hit hard by the injury curse of 2008-09, but unlike the Rockets and Spurs, they don’t have the requisite vets that make it possible to ride out the loss of their best player.
But the T-Wolves continue to play hard, as they will tonight. And all the pressure is on the Trail Blazers. A loss makes Sunday’s rematch against the Spurs a bigger game than it already is. And then there’s Wednesday’s game against the Pacers, a team the Trail Blazers haven’t beaten since Dec. 2, 2003 (Travis Outlaw is the only current Trail Blazer who was on the team at that time, and even he registered a DNP that night). And the night after that, a road game against Denver, which might be the most pivotal game of the season thus far.
Taking all of that into account, it’s no wonder Roy answered the way he did.
As Nate McMillan says almost daily, every game is important, but tonight in Minneapolis, there might be a little more on the line. With so little room for error, a loss puts even more pressure on a young team fighting for their playoff lives.
And that pressure is something no one needs.