Brandon Roy has a note posted in his locker that reads in red letters, 'STAY HUMBLE.'
PORTLAND — Brandon Roy has a note posted in his locker that reads in red letters, "STAY HUMBLE."
After scoring 52 points in a home victory over the Phoenix Suns, a reporter suggested that the Trail Blazers' shooting guard might have a hard time remembering the message.
"Nah," Roy said. "That's easy, man."
Unfazed by the shouts of "M-V-P!" that have enveloped the Rose Garden, Roy is all about the team.
"I'm just trying to do the best we can to win these games. I don't even get into the whole MVP thing," he said. "I just try to go out here and perform as best I can to help this team win. I think that's why these guys believe in me, because they know my No. 1 goal is to win."
Portland's 124-119 victory on Thursday night snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Suns, including two losses earlier this season. Phoenix had won five straight at the Rose Garden.
Roy's 52 points were a career high. It was the second-most points ever scored by a Blazer — Damon Stoudamire scored 54 at New Orleans on Jan. 14, 2005. No one has ever scored as many points in Portland, and it was the most points ever scored by a Blazer in a victory.
Roy made 14 of 27 shots from the field, including five of seven 3-point attempts, and made a franchise-record 19 of 21 free throws. He also had six assists and five rebounds.
Always low-key, Roy didn't even realize where he was headed until the fourth quarter.
"At one point, someone told me I had 40, and there were 10 minutes left," he said. "I thought, whew, 40. That's good enough for me."
Fourteen of his points came in the fourth quarter, and a 3-pointer with 1:01 left broke a 119-all tie.
"He ran through every person we put on him," Phoenix forward Matt Barnes said. "He was just in one of those zones. We got our hands in his face, but it didn't really matter."
In his third NBA season Roy has become the unquestioned leader of the Blazers, the NBA's second-youngest team behind the Golden State Warriors.
He has been the steadying force as Portland has had to adjust to the rookie growing pains of 7-foot center Greg Oden, a foot injury that has kept forward Martell Webster out for all but one brief appearance this season, and the inconsistent play of forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Roy, who was an All-American at Washington, was the sixth overall pick in 2006 by the Minnesota Timberwolves and acquired by Portland in a draft-day trade. He made an impact from the start, winning the league's Rookie of the Year honors.
In his second season, he made the All-Star team.
Roy has been key in Portland's effort to shed its "Jail Blazers" image of the recent past. And as he has grown, the team has too.
With Thursday night's victory, Portland is 17-10 and second to Denver in the Western Conference's Northwest Division. The Blazers are off to their best start since the 2000-01 season, when they were also 17-10 after 27 games. The team visits the Nuggets on Monday.
"When we drafted him we knew he had this potential, but what he has done is to find ways to improve his game and take it to another level," coach Nate McMillan said. "His body language, control and demeanor says a lot about his confidence when he has the ball."
While the latest performance was, in Roy's words, "by far the best offensive game I've had," he has been a tear over the past five games, averaging 34.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and five assists. He is shooting 52.3 percent from the field over the stretch.
"I'm just growing and maturing more and more each game," he said. "I feel like there's shots I'm able to take, there's places on the floor I'm able to get to get my looks, and then I think coach is putting me in a position to make plays."
Through his team's first 27 games, Roy has stayed true to that message in his locker. There has been little mention, at least from him, of any repeat All-Star aspirations.
If anything, Roy's humility ends when it comes to the rest of his team. The Blazers want more than just to improve on last season's 41-41 finish. They are shooting for the playoffs after a six-season drought.
"I'd have finished with 10 points if we beat the Suns," Roy said. "We need all these games."