The Portland Trail Blazers practice facility was abuzz with energy from last night’s Rose Garden victory over the Dallas Mavericks. This energy was different than the celebratory feeling shared last night in the locker room, it was a focused energy.
As in all practices, improvement was the goal. The team looked at yesterday’s game and intend to make adjustments to better serve the team on Saturday.
Catching up with some of the guys we talked about two keys that resulted in the game three victory; LaMarcus Aldridge’s performance and the emergence of the Trail Blazers second unit.
Aldridge on the impact of last night’s win:
“It gave us new life. I think guys are playing more confident. That’s what we have to have right now.”
“That was a big win last night. You go down 0-2, that's mentally draining. I think that win last night gives you life, gives you energy. It should be good for tomorrow.”
Aldridge on the Trail Blazers' pick and roll:
“We hadn’t done may pick and rolls, we had been posting up a lot and we really didn’t do a lot of pick and rolls cause they was guarding differently. But I think last night we figured out some ways to get me in there where they couldn’t really try to set a screen. We had a lot more movement with surprise screens where they really couldn’t guard it that easy and we end up getting open shots.”
Aldridge on his ability to knock down open jumpers:
“You have to have different ways to score and I’m thankful that I can shoot, I don’t just want to pound on the block all game. If I can knock down jump shots and go inside I think that’s better for us cause it opens things up for whoever coming off the screen.”
Aldridge on getting to the free throw line:
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to last night but I thought late I forced the issue and I got to the line when we needed two points. But just trying to go to the basket and hopefully I’ll get the call if they’re bodying me. It’s tough cause I’m going in there and I’m getting beat up and it’s not always being called a foul, but it is what it is.”
Patty Mills on the importance of bench production:
“First of all I think the bench is what’s gonna win us this series and continue to win us playoff games because the first unit does a great job of logging those minutes in, putting in all the hard work, it’s important that the second unit goes up another gear when they go in. And CJ (Chris Johnson) was a perfect example of that last night. Coming in, bringing that energy, making plays and really upping another level. And same with Brandon. I think for us to be successful and for us to do good, the second unit is key to winning.”
Mills on Roy’s performance and how it energized the second unit:
“It felt different. I think everyone felt that difference. Especially with what happened the last couple days. I think him mentally, it wasn’t anything physical that he came out and done, he came out mentally and was like ‘it’s go time now’... and you can see as the game went on and he could start to feel himself get his little swagger back.”
Nicolas Batum on the performance of the second unit:
“We tried to bring more energy from the bench. We bring energy and guy like Chris being huge for us. B-Roy really step up yesterday. It feel great to watch him play like that and Rudy and me try to bring energy to play defense and offense.”
Batum on Roy’s impact:
“When you get a guy like B-Roy play like he play last night was huge for us cause now we say if B-Roy start to stepping up we got a good chance to win, you know it’s going to be tough if B-Roy don’t play good. Me, I got five point in a row. Everybody tries to step up like last night. It was huge. The crowd was crazy.”
Last, but definitely not least, Nicolas Batum issued a challenge to the Rose Garden crowd attending Saturday’s game:
“Same or better. They can do better. That going to be tough cause that was huge yesterday. I challenge them.”