Even with a depleted roster, the Portland Trail Blazers are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
The surging Trail Blazers try for a third consecutive victory and second in six days over Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center.
Even without star forward LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) (ankle) and guard Steve Blake(notes) (pneumonia), the Trail Blazers won for the eighth time in 10 games. Portland has already lost centers Greg Oden(notes) and Joel Przybilla(notes) to season-ending injuries, and it has been without key reserve Rudy Fernandez(notes) (sciatic pain) since early December.
“We’re just laughing because we can’t understand it either,” said forward Martell Webster(notes), who had 21 points and 11 rebounds Saturday. “We’re just going out and playing. We have nothing to lose.”
While Blake likely won’t play and it’s uncertain if Aldridge will be ready for this contest after spraining his ankle in a 103-99 win over the Clippers (14-18) on Wednesday, coach Nate McMillan feels confident because of his team’s overall attitude and focus.
Portland is in the midst of its most successful stretch since winning 10 of 12 from Nov. 6-25.
“They’re playing free and guys, whatever minutes they play with or get, they’re going out and making the most of it,” McMillan told the Blazers’ official Web site. “They’ve been able to come up with some big wins.”
Roy’s play over the last month has fueled the team’s success. The fourth-year guard is averaging a career-high 23.3 points on the season and 27.9 in his last 15 games. He had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Portland recorded its fourth straight win over Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“When you see one guy trying so hard, you want to be a part of it,” said Roy, who’s averaging 25.0 points on 55.1 percent shooting in his last seven games against the Clippers. “That’s the thing that I’m most proud of.”
Webster could be one player that’s motivated Roy. The swingman is averaging 9.1 points on the season but has totaled 36 in his last two, including 15 against the Clippers.
Coming off a 3-1 homestand, Portland hits the road for one game before playing its next five at the Rose Garden. The Trail Blazers have won three straight away from home and four in a row against the Clippers at Staples Center.
The Clippers are dealing with a key injury of their own, but it’s not to a player. It’s uncertain if coach Mike Dunleavy will return to the bench after missing Thursday’s 104-88 victory over Philadelphia after aggravating a herniated disc in his back.
With assistant coach Tony Brown guiding the team, Los Angeles shot 54.7 percent from the field and 10 of 16 from 3-point range to win for the second time in six games.
“The intensity was way up, which is something that we hadn’t had in a while,” Brown said.
Though he’s averaging 11.8 points in 16 career games against the Trail Blazers, Kaman had 25 while going 12 for 19 from the field in Wednesday’s loss.