Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stakes Are High, Anxiety Isn't

For the Trail Blazers, every game is the biggest game of their season here on out. That might be nerve-racking for some, but for Brandon Roy, it’s simply a chance to win a playoff road game.

“Just another opportunity to come in here and get a win,” said Roy. “We felt like we came really close the last two times we were in (the Toyota Center), so hopefully this time it is the one we need. Our backs are against the wall, but I think guys are loose and ready to go out there and play hard and hopefully win this game.”

They’ve been close before in Houston, losing the last two games by a combined four points, and you get the feeling from the Trail Blazers that they believe those near-misses have prepared them to finally get over the hump for that first playoff road win.

“We did a great job, I think, in Game 5 of going out and just playing and not thinking about it’s lose or go home,” said Roy. “We just went out there and played and were able to get a big win. Hopefully we can take that same approach into (Thursday) night’s game.”

That approach has been to play loose, stay close and give yourself a chance to win at the end of the game. It’s a plan that has almost worked in the last two games at the Toyota Center, but Portland will need a little something extra tonight to send the series back to Portland for a decisive Game 7.

One factor that might help the Trail Blazers as the series drags on is something most view as a detriment in the playoffs: youth.

“Guys just don’t really believe when we’re down that we’re really out,” said Roy. “So I think our youth helps. We have a lot of guys who are young and active. I think when other teams are maybe getting a little tired, we’ve got good legs.”

It’s yet to be seen whether Portland’s youth, Houston’s home court advantage or something else all together will win the day, but whatever it is, it won’t come as a surprise.

We know what to expect coming in here,” said Roy. “It’s going to be a lot of energy. They want to come out and play well. It’s a big opportunity for them. We know what to expect, we’re just ready to go out there and kind of get this game started and let’s see where the chips fall.”

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