Nearly a month back (to the day), the Celtics narrowly defeated Portland 98-95 in an overtime game on the parquet floor of Boston. While moral victories are about as common as unicorns—or vegetables on Big Baby’s dinner plate—that loss showed heart from a Blazers lineup that was missing Brandon Roy. Yeah sure, but that was before the Camby man came to town.
The Blazers latest acquisition gets the starting nod (sorry Juwan) at center in his first game for Portland, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. In his first few weeks with the Blazers we all witnessed Andre Miller struggle to mesh with his new teammates, but given his low-post position and previous experience with Miller while in Denver, Camby’s tradition should be much smoother. It will be exciting to see Portland have a defense presence around the rim for the first time since Joel Przybilla hit the hardwood on December 23rd in Dallas and never got up.
Thanks to a Webber-esque timeout from Pau Gasol, the Celtics just knocked off the Lakers in Los Angeles, and toppled the Kings two days earlier to start off their west coast swing. The Celtics are known for their defense—which is excellent—but their offense is a better indicator of this team’s ability to win. Boston is 16-0 when they score over 105 points in a game, yet a mere 4-10 when they fail to break the 90 point mark. Instead of parting ways with Ray Allen, and Ray Allen’s bloated contract, the Celtics swapped Eddie House for all 5”9 of Nate Robinson. Not exactly a blockbuster deal, but Robinson should be ready to provide some spark off the bench and has a history of playing well against fellow Huskie alum Roy and the Blazers. Robinson has missed a few of the Knicks’ previous games against Portland, but the three previous times he has played against Portland the resident slam dunk champ is averaging 27 points a game.
Brandon Roy will (possibly) return for this game, which is a frustrating point of contention for Blazers fans. A life without Roy is a life not worth living, yet the team’s future precariously balances with the fate of his tender hamstring. Should he take a seat on the pine and rest? Absolutely, but he won’t. If we have witnessed anything in Roy’s glorious run as a Blazer is that the man is as stubborn as he is tough. Neither furrowed brows from the coaching staff, or worried bloggers pretending to be doctors, matter to Roy. If he wants to play, he’ll play. Hamstring be damned.