Around the League

Ultimate Fighters

In spite of losing five rotation players, including both centers, to a relentless onslaught of injuries, the battle scarred Blazers continue to fight through adversity and find ways to win.  Last week they strung together four wins in a row over quality teams, including an improbable win over Dallas with Roy out due to a shoulder injury.  If the playoffs started today the Blazers would be seeded fourth in the competitive West.  You have to admire the team’s gumption, which is an extension of Coach McMillan’s “no excuses” attitude (even McMillan is nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon) and a testament to the team’s resolve, toughness and pride.

The Man with a Christmas Plan

Can’t overlook LeBron’s big week: He led his team to a 3-1 record on the road, topping it off with a triple-double against Sacramento and a Christmas day upset of the  Lakers. But this week’s nod goes to Brandon Roy. On Christmas day, Roy’s tremendous performance had to be the biggest gift for NBA fans.  If you didn’t already know Roy is the real deal you do now: Having missed the Spurs matchup due to a shoulder strain Roy returned to the starting lineup with a fury and a thin brace at home against Denver. He scored 41 points, had four assists and grabbed six rebounds, blazing the victory trail to Portland’s fourth win in a row on Christmas day. Unselfish, Roy carries his team offensively, plays defense, comes up big in clutch moments and fills the box score.

Wow Shot of the Week

Baron Davis capped off a big performance sinking the game winning, fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to give the Clippers a 92-90 win over the Boston Celtics at the Staples Center.

Holiday Dud

Lakers fans got the equivalent of coal in their stockings on Christmas day.  The featured match-up was a disappointment as the reigning NBA champs didn’t show up playing championship caliber ball. Instead the Cavs dominated from start to finish and managed to upset the Lakers 102-87 in Los Angeles. But I’m sure Phil Jackson will utilize the trial to motivate his team down the stretch and to resolve weaknesses the Cavs were able to exploit.

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