Trail Blazers

Did Blazers find the right balance between rest and rust this week?

Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers haven’t played since Sunday night and won’t until Saturday night. It’s a rest period that rivals the All-Star break.

So, is that good or bad? Certainly there is a chance for the old “rest or rust” argument.

And the balance between allowing players rest and making sure they are ready to perform in a playoff game (at altitude) is critical.

How has that gone?

“I mean, it's different,” Damian Lillard said. “You know, we usually have maybe one or two days and I've been thinking about that. 'Like man, I'm just ready to play, you know.' I wish we didn't have as much… as good as the rest is, I'm just like, I wish we didn't have as much time to just sit around and lay around and just wait.

“You know, I would have rather had these days be like over the course of the season, or something like that. But I found myself doing things differently going into the playoffs -- getting a hard workout in on the court.

“Yesterday after practice, I got some sprints in, and just got myself breathing hard and seeing where I was. When we were doing our non-contact drills in practice, I'm doing it much harder than I probably would if it was just a normal walk-through or a normal prep.


“You have to keep that heart rate up and that work-rate up, so it's been different. I wish we could just play already, but nobody's complaining about the rest.”

Denver Coach Mike Malone said his players are itching to get back to playing games.

“This week of preparation is like a blessing and a curse,” Malone said earlier in the week. “It's a blessing because you get a lot of time to prepare. You get some time, mentally and physically, to give your players some rest.

“But I also think there is a part of our guys and I'm sure the Portland players that are saying, ‘Hey, man, let's start this thing.’

“Let's start playing because we have not had this kind of rest the whole season. So, Saturday night can't come soon enough.”

Portland Coach Terry Stotts was pleased with the balance his team achieved during the week.

“I think it went really well,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of piece-mealing it. Giving the information that the team needed, but not all at once.

“We used the video. We didn't have any contact practices. I didn't want to risk any injury in practice, but we did get good cardio, good movement. They got a good run in a couple days ago, so I feel good about preparation from a mental standpoint, but also from a physical standpoint.”

But it’s time to play on Saturday night in Denver and then we will find out how that week of conditioning and preparation actually worked out.