Brandon Roy Tells Blazers to Stop Monitoring His Minutes
How quickly things change.
Roy logged almost 41 minutes on Friday, and led all scorers with 26 points during his team's fourth straight victory, a 101-94 triumph over the Suns. And he did it on the second night of a back-to-back, after playing 38 minutes in Portland's nationally televised win over the Magic on Thursday.
It was arguably Roy's best performance of the season -- only twice had he scored more points, but he did so by making a lower percentage of his shots. And in this one, he also handed out a season-high six assists, not to mention the fact that he hit the big shot late to keep the Suns at bay while they made a spirited-but-belated attempt at a comeback.
For Roy, it's not so much that he's feeling that much better, or that his arthritic knee has somehow magically healed. Speaking to reporters after Friday's win, it was clear that it was his attitude that has changed, and that he is simply no longer willing to be victimized by his condition.
"I'm done with the whole minutes thing," Roy said. "I just want to play. So I told [team trainer Jay Jensen] let's just open it up and start playing, and no more monitoring minutes.
"No more monitoring minutes. I'm just going to play."
Blazers head coach Nate McMillan wasn't ready to throw Roy's minute restrictions entirely out the window just yet.
"He said he was feeling good, and he wanted to play," McMillan said. "We're still looking at his minutes throughout the game, and certainly throughout back-to-backs. But he had a good rhythm, and we just rode him ... We needed him tonight."
They did indeed.
Roy scored 10 of his 26 points in the third quarter, while playing all 12 minutes. And when the Suns came up with a furious late rally to cut a 15-point lead down to six with under two minutes to play, Roy was the one who put an end to it by hitting a 12-footer to extend his team's lead back to eight with just over a minute to play, which ultimately sealed the win for the Blazers.
There were no smiles for Roy, however, during this performance. And you can expect it to stay that way, thanks to what Roy described as a new level of focus on the basketball court.
"I'm not going to smile a lot for a while," Roy said. "When I'm off the court, I'm going to continue to laugh and be the same person. On the court, now, I'm going to be focused. This is serious; yeah, I've got an attitude. If that's what you want to put, yeah, I've got an attitude."
Roy claimed there was no story behind it, that it was just something within himself that gave him enough reason for this sudden change of demeanor. Whatever the cause, it's good news for the Blazers -- they'll need their star to play fearlessly and without limitations to get back to playing winning basketball, as the team has done over its last four games.
"I'm not worrying about it anymore," Roy said. "If I'm going to be hurt, I'm going to be hurt. If I'm going to play, I'm going to play. So no more trying to balance it during games."