The Trail Blazers seem to think the 76ers' record doesn't reflect the roster's talent.
Before last night's game against the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, the Sixers were 7-22 and had lost 16 of their last 18 games.
Portland, swept last season by the Sixers, entered the game 20-12.
"There's a lot of talent there," said Portland coach Nate McMillan of the Sixers. "I haven't really watched them a lot except for the last couple of days. They have been a team that we've had some problems with their speed and athleticism. I don't know exactly what's going on, but it's a talented team."
On this night at least, the Trail Blazers were right as the Sixers beat Portland.
Portland star Brandon Roy, remembering losing both games last season to the Sixers, said he was taken aback by the Sixers' poor start.
"They have good players," said Roy, who began the day averaging 22.8 points a game. "I was surprised by their record. I don't even look at them, like, I don't approach this game looking at their record, I approach it as, 'Look, this team is good and they have talented players.' "
At yesterday's shootaround, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan dismissed Roy's comment, which seemed somewhat innocuous.
"That's his opinion," said Jordan when asked if he felt his team had more talent than its record indicated.
Jordan said nothing more.
Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala agreed with Roy.
"Yeah, we do have a lot of talent and we have a lot of guys who can play," Iguodala said. "We're good on paper, so any given night we can play really good ball and as this year's been going, we've been playing some bad basketball."
Last night's game was also a reunion of sorts with former Sixers guard Andre Miller, now starting for Portland.
Miller was often regarded as the Sixers' coach on the floor.
Jordan called such a thing a "luxury."
"I don't necessarily need to look for a coach on the floor," Jordan said. "It's a luxury to have guys step up. . . but it's not a necessity to have."
Jordan said he felt this year's point guard, Lou Williams, has filled some of that role, as has Iguodala - on the defensive side of the ball.
"We're trying to do it collectively, still working out a lot of kinks," Iguodala said. "As far as defensively, I feel like I'm trying to get guys in the right spot. I feel like I'm filling that role.. . . We have to do it collectively on the offensive end."
The Blazers were without six players tonight: centers
, both out for the season with knee injuries, forwards
, and guards