Tonight was supposed to be a celebratory night, as the Brandon Roy Comeback Tour was scheduled to stop in Portland. That’s the funny thing about plans: they don’t always go how they’re supposed to. We knew that Brandon would likely have a flare up, and that his decline might be more gradual, not so quickly. Didn’t you think that we’d get more than five games of Brandon Roy shooting 31% from the floor? Instead, we get the worst case scenario of having to watch a very likable human being’s career as his knees give out on him again. I mean, five games and an arthroscopic surgery, already? It’s such an unhappy occurrence (although not entirely unforeseen)to have happen, I don’t think any of us here at Howlin’ T-Wolf really felt like writing about it.
I will say that I’m glad that I did get to meet Brandon, and get the photo taken above before the season.
In the spirit of yesterday’s holiday, I’m going to focus on some of the cheerier aspects of tonight’s game, and list things about tonight’s game that I’m thankful for:
- Kevin Love surprise returns.
- Blazers rookie Damian Lillard making me want to watch all of his games. If you haven’t seen Lillard yet, watch tonight and you’ll understand why. His numbers are impressive, but he’s also an incredibly fun player to watch.
- Abundant, or even adequate, health. It always helps to get a player like Love back, but getting back more of the supporting cast in JJ Barea and Nikola Pekovic helps a ton. Now, we’ll just wait for Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, and Brandon (hopefully) to get healthy.
- Andrei Kirilenko for keeping this team afloat. He’s on pace to have his best season since ’05-’06, logged heavy minutes, and been incredibly productive. Sure, he won’t average 8 rebounds per game next to Pekovic and Love, but he’s still outperformed expectations so far.
- The Blazers’ dead-last rankings in eFG% allowed, opponent points per game, and defensive rating.
- Kevin Love versus LaMarcus Aldridge, because…awesome!
The Timberwolves of course also come in on a three game losing streak having also dropped four out of their last five. Beginning a long west coast road trip, it would be great to start things off on the right foot and get a win. It won’t necessarily be easy since the Blazers can be pesky with Lillard, Batum and Aldridge, but if they can limit their impact and try to force the Blazers’ bench to pick up some slack, the Wolves’ odds of victory improves dramatically.
Luke Ridnour – PG – Damian Lillard
Malcolm Lee – SG – Wes Matthews
Andrei Kirilenko – SF – Nicolas Batum
Kevin Love – PF – LaMarcus Aldridge
Nikola Pekovic – C – Meyers Leonard