Apr 27

The First 'Must Win' Of The Season

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers, MarcusCamby, Mavericks, Blazers, MarcusCamby, Mavericks
Nate McMillan is incredibly accommodating to the media, but there are a few questions that get on his nerves. He's over answering whether his team is "ready to play." He almost religiously refuses to label almost any contest as a "big game," as it's antithetical to his strongly-held belief that no one game counts more than another. And usually he's incredulous when asked if a game is a "must win."

But on Wednesday, after what could be Portland's last practice of the 2010-11 season, McMillan readily used the term for the first and maybe only time this season, and for good reason. If the Trail Blazers don't win Game 6 Thursday night at the Rose Garden, they're done. So McMillan, being the literal man that he is, didn't have a problem calling Game 6 what it is.

"Either win or it's over tomorrow," said McMillan. "When you talk about a must win -- you (media) say that a lot during the regular season and I can never get that, because this is a must win. We're facing elimination (Thursday) night. We've won here at home, so we believe we can do it, but this is a must win."

Though Game 6's qualifies as a certified Nate McMillan Must Win event, it doesn't really change how he or the team prepared on the eve of what could be the final game of the season. There's very few adjustments to be made or secrets to be revealed after you've played a team nine times in the past four months, so trying to switch things up for Thursday night's game, even though it is a must win, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

"They've beaten us five times, we've beaten them four and each team has won at home," said McMillan. "We need to just take care of business tomorrow night at home."

"I just try to play hard," said Marcus Camby when asked if he would prepare differently for Game 6. "Elimination games can be a little stressful, a little emotional because we know if we don't win our season is over.

"Everyone in here, before training camp started, our goal was to raise that gold ball at the end of the season. So I still know we've got a lot of fight and a lot of hunger in us. Hopefully we can have that strong performance which we didn't have throughout this whole series. We can put together a solid four quarters."

Which is something the Trail Blazers have yet to do in the series, though Thursday night would certainly be the right time to change the trend. If they don't string together four quality quarters, chances are they might won't have another opportunity for some time. Just ask Nate McMillan.


  1. "... I still know we've got a lot of fight and a lot of hunger in us." - Nate McMillan

    As do the fans and supporters of this team.

    So there's nothing left to do but show it Thursday night. From player to coach to fan to citizen. Everyone needs to do their part.

    Thanks for the report, Casey.

    by Patch on 4/27/2011 5:00 PM
  2. Here we go!! Game 6 at home in the RG. Trying to force a game 7 to have a chance at upsetting a 3 seed. Cmon boys! G-O T-B-L-A-Z-E-R-S !!!

    by Divotking on 4/27/2011 7:10 PM
  3. The Trail Blazers must stay consistent as a team. They all crumbled away in Game 5 in the 2nd half. But they played well in the 1st half though.

    by IS0-motion on 4/28/2011 8:08 AM
  4. We need to keep our leads. In every Game but 4, we had decent leads but gave them up very quickly. We need to do a better job stopping their runs. Finally, get the crowd behind us early on and ride that wave of momentum!

    by DHawes22 on 4/28/2011 12:14 PM
  5. I'm still and will always be a believer. I absolutely know that we can not only beat this team tonight but we can beat them twice in a row so we can advance to the second round against New Orleans or the Lakers. Go Blazers!

    by Shann on 4/28/2011 1:58 PM
  6. Let's send the message tonight that just because Dallas took game 5, they will not be the winner of game 6 and game 7. That distinction is reserved for the Portland Trailblazers.

    by Shann on 4/28/2011 2:08 PM
  7. LA must have it tonight. Go at the basket early and often. Can't wait for the double team to come. Go to his left early in the game. Not to a fade away but at the defender. Our passing must be crisp and side to side. We have to move without the ball. Constantly cutting and slashing. The ball has to get upcourt fast before the defense sets. And please block out, block out, block out.

    by Divotking on 4/28/2011 4:14 PM
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