While it’s early in the season, it’s looking good for both to carry out those promises.
Portland is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 season when it won its first four games. However, it hasn’t been easy. The Trail Blazers have been behind entering the fourth quarter in each of their games, including rallying from six points down to win by 14 against Phoenix on Thursday and erasing a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes of a 100-95 win over New York on Saturday.
“You don’t want to have to continue to do that, but these guys are not dropping their heads,” coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re playing a 48-minute game.”
While the team’s slow starts have put it in a tough position, it’s helped that Roy is has been solid so far. After his numbers dropped slightly in 2009-10 due to nagging injuries, Roy is averaging 25.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. He finished with 29 points and six boards in the victory over the Knicks.
Roy and the Blazers continue their road trip Monday against a Bulls team that split its first two games despite outstanding efforts by Rose in each of them.
After scoring 28 points in a 106-95 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Rose matched a career high with 39 as Chicago erased a 21-point deficit to beat Detroit 101-91 on Saturday. The Bulls trailed by 13 with three minutes remaining before going on a 19-2 run to win their home opener.
Rose shot 13 of 27 and also had seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots as fans at the United Center began chanting “M-V-P.”
“I’m far away from it,” he said. “I’ve still got to play hard. Like I’ve said, I was working out hard all this summer. I think I’ve got a shot.”
Rose was also helped by another solid effort from Joakim Noah(notes), who signed a five-year contract extension in early October after being involved in several trade rumors over the offseason. He has totaled 33 points and 36 rebounds in his first two games.
He’ll face a challenge to put up those kinds of numbers against Portland, however. While the Blazers are missing big men Greg Oden(notes) (left knee) and Joel Przybilla(notes) (right knee), they have outrebounded opponents in two of three games— a big reason they haven’t allowed an opponent to reach 100 points this season. LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) is averaging 9.7 rebounds.
Also, Noah struggled in two games against Portland last season. He totaled 15 points and 19 rebounds, making one start. Last season, Noah averaged 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds.
Portland and Chicago split the two meetings in 2009-10, with each winning at home. The Bulls won 115-111 in overtime at the United Center on Feb. 26, led by 33 points from Rose. Aldridge had 32 points.