McMillan Scraps Blazers' 3-Guard Lineup
And that's what happened with coach Nate McMillan and the Blazers over the weekend. After losing to Golden State 108-94 on Friday night at Oracle Arena, lo and behold there was a different starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Timberwolves: Andre Miller out; Martell Webster in.
Gone is the three-guard starting lineup featuring Steve Blake, Miller and Brandon Roy, and McMillan explained the change pretty matter-of-factly to The Oregonian before his team blew out Minnesota on Saturday: "I want to give the team back to Brandon. It's his team."
What makes the move curious is that it was only one day prior when McMillan was singing the praises of his three-guard lineup. Not to mention that the three-guard lineup had won seven of eight games before that loss to Golden State.
"I was hoping it would work out the way it's worked out in the sense of still being able to have a spreader who could shoot the ball with Blake being out there," McMillan said Friday. "(And) having two guards who can recognize and get the ball to our bigs on the inside and then play off of Brandon on the perimeter."
But Roy was little factor in the loss to the Warriors, struggling from the field on his way to a 17-point night. It was obvious Roy was bothered some by the quickness of his defender, Monta Ellis. A frustrated Roy also picked up a technical foul in that game, just the third of his career.
One of the things McMillan was asked about on Friday was the wear and tear that Roy was taking by having to play the small forward position and guarding the opposition's best perimeter player. McMillan insisted that wasn't the case.
"I don't agree with that," McMillan said. "... He was guarding the same guys last year as he's guarding this year. I think that's perception more than anything. Nick (Batum) last year took the best offensive player and Brandon took the other wing regardless of who he was.
"He's not taking the best. He didn't take Ben Gordon (Wednesday vs. Detroit). He could have been running around chasing Ben Gordon. So, I don't agree with that. I think that's perception."
What is real, however, is that McMillan has made the switch and maintains it will be for a while. What's also apparent is the move sits well with Roy, but not necessarily with Miller.
"I feel like we tried it, and you could say it worked at times," Roy said. "But me sacrificing hurt the team, so it should get back to me playing full-out and getting some other guys in other areas to sacrifice a little bit."
Said Miller: "We went 7-2, so I don't think that's a problem. And over half of the games were on the road. I'm not going to look at it that way. We won games."
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