Blazers can't mail it in for the Playoffs
Ever since we heard the news during Primetime last night, that Brandon Roy has a partially torn meniscus and his status for the Playoffs is iffy at best, the general consensus is that Portland overachieved just to make the playoffs and win 50 games. However, upon a minor amount of investigation it seems pretty obvious that no one in the organization is content with what they have accomplished so far. Andre Miller and Marcus Camby and Juwan Howard did not come to Portland to babysit their future replacements and act as glorified assistant coaches. They recognized the talent that existed, and saw an opportunity for what could be their last shot at a deep playoff run. Head coaches who have tallied just one technical foul in the first 78 games of the season, don't pick up four in the final four games for vanity's sake. General managers without a contract extension and in precarious political waters don't throw their hands up at the end of the grind of the most challenging regular season and acquiesce to the circumstances in the eleventh hour.
Blazer fans, you will find out if you have a real team, or just another better than average NBA squad in the next two weeks. You will see if LaMarcus Aldridge is the All-Star player he wants to be, as he will be the number one option throughout whatever playoff series matchup they get. It will become acutely obvious if Rudy Fernandez, Martell Webster and Jerryd Bayless will seize the opportunity to shine and solidify their futures with franchise as they must make plays and knock down 3-point shots in the playoffs to keep defenses honest. Even without Roy, the 8 man rotation for the playoffs consists of 6 lottery picks and all 8 players being first round draft picks. No one in the franchise has allowed the challenges this team has faced to become execuses for losing, and I don't expect it to start now. If they lose in the first round, it won't be becuase of Brandon Roy playing or not playing. It will happen becuase they don't play tough enough and smart enough. It certainly won't be because they are not talented enough.
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