Nate McMillan ran the team through a relatively light practice today in Tualatin after a day off Sunday. Two reason for this. One, the Trail Blazers don't play until Wednesday night against the Clippers in L.A., so there's not exactly any need to rush back into full-contact practices. And second, as the playoffs approach, the coaches move the team into a schedule that focuses on rest rather than what most people would recognize as a stereotypical mid-season practice. Basically at this point in the season, practice isn't going to make you that much better of a team than you already are.
Nevertheless, the team still got together today to do some defensive drills, get up shots, do a little bit of pre-game planning for the upcoming game against the Clippers and, most importantly, talk to the media in Portland for the first time since returning from a two-game mini road trip.
° First item of note: Brandon Roy did not practice with the team today. Not only that, I don't think he even showed up for practice. Word out of Trail Blazers HQ is that Roy was given the day off to tend to a sore back, which he probably strained yesterday while hiding Easter eggs for Brandon Jr. and Mariah. Roy does sometimes sit out practice, or at least portions of practices, but he rarely skips them all together. He is listed as probable for Wednesday's game against the Clippers, and at this point, it doesn't seem like anything more than the trainers giving a player who is averaging 37.5 minutes per game this season a bit of extra rest before the playoffs.
° Jeff Pendergraph, as you can see from the picture above, took a serious shot to the face today at practice courtesy of Jerryd Bayless. Seems that Pendergraph attempted to block a layup attempt by Bayless, and recieved an elbow to his right eye for the trouble.
"I went up, jumped, landed and fell to the floor," said Pendergraph of the incident. "I could feel it as soon as I landed. I was like 'Ah man, my face?' I hate getting hit in my face, too. But it was on accident. Usually I would have been mad, I would have been snapping, trying to find someone and choke 'em. But he didn't do it on purpose. That's my guy. Oh well, part of the game."
° The court nearest to the area where media wait during practice has been retrofit with a shorter three-point line and a trapazoidal lane in anticipation of Nike Hoop Summit practices, which start later this week. I'll have much more from the Hoop Summit, including an interview with Terrence Jones of Jefferson High in NE Portland, as the week progresses.
As an aside, I didn't notice whether Rudy Fernandez or Nicolas Batum felt more at home with the euro-style court lines.