Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan discussed tonight’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies following a Friday morning shootaround at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.
McMillan said Portland will use the same starting lineup: Steve Blake, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden.
Rookie forwards Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph stayed late to work with assistant coach Monty Williams. Cunningham looked strong while running pick-and-roll sets, while Pendergraph showed off a solid jump shoot from the left and right wings and baselines.
Blake and Miller also stayed late. Blake practiced 3-pointers. Miller spent the second consecutive post-practice session working with Duane, his 10-year-old son, who McMillan said has been welcomed by the team and is a joy to have around.
McMillan on the Grizzlies:
I think all teams are going to get better. As you get into season — you’re still in the month of November — you expect teams to start to get their rhythm; executing better; defensively get a feel, because you have new guys or you’re coming off the season. So, you expect teams to get better. And we have to get better. They have some guys that can play. Rudy Gay and Zach (Randolph) and (Marc) Gasol and (Mike) Conley. They have lot of top picks and some guys that can play.
On the Grizzlies’ bench and trying to get Memphis into early foul trouble:
I think the thing we have to do is, we have to get better defensively; getting guys off of their spots — not allowing teams to just come down and run their stuff; more disruptive. And then, offensively, picking up the tempo. Pushing the ball, looking to get some easy baskets and keeping the pressure on the defense. For the most part, in our last game against them we had 0 fast-break points the first half. And then the second half, we picked up the tempo and was able to get something easy.