Anyone who told you they felt good about the Trail Blazers' chances against the Thunder without Brandon Roy is probably lying. And anyone who told you they felt good about Portland's playoff chances after hearing Roy sustained a tear in the meniscus in his right knee, putting his postseason availability in doubt, is a charlatan. But after Monday night's victory in which Marcus Camby went for 30 points and 13 rebounds, we can all feel good about this team, at least for a moment.
"One of those nights," said Camby of his performance against the Thunder. "Just happened to step up and rise to the occasion, especially hearing that B-Roy wasn't going to be able to play tonight. Just going out there and playing hard like I usually do. My teammates did a great job of finding me."
But more importantly, the Trail Blazers might have found themselves, at least in terms of coming to grips with life without Roy. The rules that applied with Roy in the lineup go right out the window with him on the bench, meaning the opportunities are there for Martell Webster to get minutes, for Andre Miller to be the ball handler, for LaMarcus Aldridge to be the man and for Camby to be the team's leading scorer, even when he doesn't set out with that goal in mind.
"I'm not worried about shots; I just take the opportunity that is given to me," said Camby. "I just want to win. That's the only thing I care about."
And now the Trail Blazers have won 50 games, something that seemed impossible every time another player went down with injury. And even though he hasn't been around long enough to enjoy all of them, the importance of the milestone wasn't lost on the man primarily responsible for the most recent victory
"Well I wasn't here for a majority of them, but it feels good to win 50 ball games," said Camby. "It's sort of like a benchmark in the NBA. It's still crazy how you can win 50 ball games and still be like six, seven, eight seed. So it goes to show you that the West is definitely tough."
And it's certainly not going to get any easier without Roy. But with cagey veterans like Camby, the prospect of winning at least five more games before everyone goes home for the offseason doesn't seem so far fetched, at least not tonight.