Starting lineup changes for Blazers No

first_imgTUALATIN, Ore. — Nate McMillan started out as a player, then became a coach, and on Monday, showed interest in a new profession: Journalist.Well, maybe that’s a stretch — but he certainly seemed to enjoy the interviewing part.With the Trail Blazers having lost three of their past four while holding an underachieving record of 15-13, questions regarding how McMillan distributes his minutes have become more and more frequent. Most of them have centered around Raymond Felton, who remains in the starting lineup despite being ranked as the 45th most efficient point guard in the league.But when the subject of Nicolas Batum possibly getting more playing time arose, that’s when McMillan morphed into a reporter.“There we go,” said McMillan, whose team will host the Wizards on Tuesday.”You guys want to change the point guard, and now you want to get Nic minutes.”Or use him in a different way? the reporter said.“What other way can we use him?” responded McMillan.Give him more minutes? answered the reporter.“He was on the floor at the end of the game. He’s there. OK, so answer that for me. Respond to that.”Play him more at the 2, chimed in another journalist.“He was at the 2,” McMillan said. “You’re at the 2 — make plays. You’re in there at the most crucial part of the game — make plays! More minutes doesn’t equal winning.”Well, that’s up for debate. The Blazers are 1-9 this year in games decided by five points or less. That can partly be attributed to Portland’s inability to finish, but one could argue that if certain players were on the court more often than others, some of these games wouldn’t be so close in the first place.Batum is averaging nearly seven fewer minutes than Wesley Matthews, but is shooting 3 percent better from the field and 6.5 percent better from 3-point distance while averaging 12.2 points to Matthews’ 12.5.last_img