Addition of Camby, return of Roy has Blazers searching for consistency

Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said he had a good feeling heading into Friday’s contest against the Boston Celtics at the Rose Garden.

The Blazers were well-rested and coming off a 22-point victory. The addition of center Marcus Camby had filled a major hole in Portland’s middle while giving his new team a jolt of energy. And an overall air of renewed vigor and optimism surrounded McMillan’s club.

Then the game began.

The Blazers gave up 32 points in the first quarter, and were outscored 24-13 in the second period. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Portland (32-25) had recorded season lows in made field goals, shooting percentage and total points. In addition, the Blazers’ 96-76 loss to the Celtics marked Portland’s largest margin of defeat this season, while the Blazers also tied a franchise low with seven assists.

Saturday morning marked the postmortem for Portland. And while McMillan acknowledged that the Blazers were out of synch and lacked rhythm, he also stated that now is the time to react — not overreact.

“We’ve got to work and we’ve got to make this thing better as quick as possible,” said McMillan, following a workout at the team’s practice facility.

He added: “We know we didn’t play well. We can play better; we’re going to have to.”

After spending more than half the season living off adrenaline and riding a wave of injury-spurred promotions and lineup changes, Portland must now find consistency. Minor tweaks and alterations will occur, McMillan said, but the addition of Camby and the return of All-Star guard Brandon Roy gives Portland a formidable starting lineup.

The challenge, though, is fitting Camby in on the fly, while allowing Roy to find his rhythm.

“I had a lot of time away from basketball,” Roy said Friday.

Portland’s leader in average points (22.3) and minutes (37.7) returned to action Tuesday, after missing 14 of 15 consecutive games due to a strained right hamstring.

As a result, McMillan said the Blazers are approaching the remaining 25 games of the season with a “Who knows what tomorrow will bring?” approach.

That is why Portland traded for Camby. And that is why Roy is playing through pain, rather than trading precious game time for relief.

However, once the Blazers find their rhythm and begin to run the court with a consistent beat, McMillan said the uncertainty of tomorrow should be replaced with confidence and success.

“It’s not going to happen right away,” McMillan said. “But we’re better than what we showed last night.”

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Today’s Game
Jazz vs. Blazers, 7:30 p.m. at Rose Garden
TV: ESPN (35)
Radio: 95.5 FM
Probable Starters
Blazers (32-25)
Position/player Ht. Pts.
G Andre Miller 6-2 13.5
G Brandon Roy 6-6 22.3
F Martell Webster 6-7 11.0
F LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 17.2
C Marcus Camby 6-11 2.0
Jazz (35-19)
G Deron Williams 6-3 18.3
G Wesley Matthews 6-5 8.1
F Andrei Kirilenko 6-9 12.5
F Carlos Boozer 6-9 19.4
C Mehmet Okur 6-11 12.4

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