After what seems like forever the boys in black and red are finally back in town. The Trail Blazers held practice today in Tualatin after getting a little R&R yesterday to recover from their eastern sojourn.
Here are the notes from the PF:
Will Barton and Victor Claver’s current assignment to the D-League will be a short one
Both Will Barton and Victor Claver were assigned to the Trail Blazers’ D-League affiliate the Idaho Stampede on Friday. Stints in the D-League are common for young players with the purpose of getting them more live-game minutes. Though some assignments to Idaho are open-ended, these two are not. Both will be back in Portland to participate in practice on Sunday.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get two games under their belt,” Head Coach Terry Stotts said. “They’ll play 35-40 minutes in two nights so it’s a good opportunity. They won’t be here tomorrow, but it’s good for them and we need to take advantage of the Stampede. They’ll come back Sunday, they’re there for two games.”
Road Trip Lesson: Comebacks happen
This long roadie was a huge part of the “baptism by fire” we’ve all been talking about with this young team. And though the record only came out 2-5 (it could’ve been 4-3, if you ask me,) there’s still one helluva lesson we watched these guys learn: how to persevere. Often times when you get down by a huge margin you toss in the towel and mentally move on to the next game. Not these guys. On multiple occasions they fell behind big—yes, this is the problem in the first place—but they continued to fight and successfully won one and narrowly missed the other. That’s no small feat and not a lesson to shake a stick at.
“You take each game individually,” Stotts said of the trip. “LaMarcus missed the first game, you look at Detroit, Washington, two games that you think you have a chance to win on the road and we let certainly the Washington game slip by us, but we ended up on a good note with the two overtime wins and we competed in Indiana. Boston blew us out, so each game is a little different, but I like the way our guys finished the road trip, I like the way we competed. Got some of the young guys involved off the bench, so I thought there were things that were good, but I don’t think any of us were necessarily satisfied being 2-5, we wanted to get one or two more on the road.”
Nicolas Batum echoed the sentiment of Stotts saying, “We let slip away some games. We play some bad games, but the thing is we show from some game when we down like 15-20 that we didn’t give up. We keep competing every time. That may be the only good part of that trip.”
Nicolas Batum’s back injury could keep him out of Saturday’s game
Nico’s injury doesn’t feel any better than it did when his lower back pain caused him to leave Wednesday night’s game in Indiana. He’s been sore since jumping during the game and landing on his heels, sending a shooting pain up to his lower back. He continues to get treatment in the form of massage and heat therapy and hopes to return as soon as possible. His status for tomorrow won’t be decided until morning and when asked if he could venture a guess as to if he will play he said, “I really don’t know. I would say yes if I think I could play, but I don’t know yet.”
This back issue is the same one he battled during the Olympics last summer.