To talk about the game tonight I turn to fellow Bloguin NBA blogger Sophia Brugato from Bust A Bucket, the best site on the Internet for all things Blazers. Make sure to follow her on Twitter: @sophiabiabia.
In this Q&A Sophia talks about the Rudy Fernandez drama, Greg Oden and she gives her thoughts on tonight's matchup.
Jeff: Over the summer there was much discussion regarding Rudy Fernandez and his future with the Blazers. Is it safe to say that issue is over?
Sophia: I guess it's only safe to say the issue has "simmered" down. He's no longer publicly pleading to go home, he's no longer despondent in front of fans and media, and he's looking as if he's enjoying the season. He started out the pre-season and the beginning of the season well, but I think that he's ultimately unhappy with his role on the Blazers - behind Brandon Roy, and now Wesley Matthews- and this fact makes me think he still wants to be moved. I have no doubt he and his agents, after being fined numerous times over the summer and in pre-season, are in quiet and discreet talks with management.
I can't speak for all fans or media of course, but I can say that I personally have accepted the fact that he'll probably never play in a Blazer jersey. There are rumblings that the team will give him an offer,I would prefer they did not do that. I don't believe Greg Oden will ever be free and happy in Portland, there's too much negative history here for him, and I bet the instant he plays for another team, he will have a giant weight , burden really, lifted off his shoulders. There will always be the expectations in Portland that I think have made the past three years for him especially difficult. I wish him the best, I love Greg, but Im not sure his best place is on the Portland Trail Blazers.
Brandon Roy seems to be having an inconsistent season. Is it mainly due to his health or it there more?
Ooh boy, this is a tough one. There are several levels to this. This all started 6 weeks back when Brandon made comments basically saying he can no longer jump, there is no meniscus left in his knee, "bone on bone", and that he has to adjust his game. This sent the media and fans into a frenzy, and frankly, watching Broy on the court,we all knew something wasn't right. Every game seemed to feature a player being betrayed by his failing and broken down body. Like we were watching the end, possession by possession, of a great career and the potential of a great career go down in flames right before our eyes. He hasn't been inconsistent, he's be bad.
So the team and Nate limited his minutes, which seemed to do nothing. He took some time off, still no better. So we all just started to come to grips with the fact that this new Brandon Roy, a shell of his former self, is how it;s gonna be.
Last night against the Suns appeared to be the first time this entire season we've seen Brandon Roy play like the Broy we all knew and loved. He mentioned to a reporter after the game that he "has an attitude" and is not worrying about injuries. He's just going to play. New attitude, new outlook, and a fantastic game- I can't help but think this bodes well for the Blazers.
The Blazers head into San Antonio looking to get a road win against an elite team. What do the Blazers have to do to escape with a road win against the Spurs?
This is undoubtedly going to be a very tough game for the Blazers. If the Blazers continue their energy on offense that we've seen in the past few games, I think they'll have a good enough chance . But , the Blazers will have to play their hearts out and the bench MUST SHOW UP. Last night, the starters played over 40 minutes each. On the road, the bench has to step up, and I am worried the Blazers will be dragging a little from fatigue on Sunday, not that I can blame them. So, the Blazers need a solid, well rounded showing from the bench. If they don't , Blazers lose, big time.
Looking at the match-ups tonight, which would you say is key for Spurs and Blazers fans to watch?
I had to consult with my partner , Robert , on this one. We concluded that Richard Jefferson and Wesley Matthews will be that key matchup. Statistically, they're very close, but as Robert stated, Wesley's been hot of late, so if he can somehow render Jefferson a little less useful, I think the Blazers will have a great advantage. On the other hand, if Jefferson shuts down Wes, the Blazers will struggle mightily.
Prediction and final score.
Prediction: Blazers win fifth in a row. Final Score: Blazers 90 , San Antonio 82
To read the Q&A I did with Sophia, click HERE to visit Bust A Bucket.