Sometimes a coach will pull aside a player before a game and let them know what he expects from them that night, what their role will be, and what he needs them to focus on.

But this is decidedly not the case for Will Barton, who said he is never sure how much or when he will play, just that he needs to be ready.

“Coach just always tells me stay ready and he likes what I’ve been doing the whole year,” Barton said. “He tells me ‘I never know how much I’m going to play you or when you’re going to play but just be ready.’ … That’s what I try to do.”

Sometimes it’s a veteran player who pulls a bench player aside before a game to fill them in on their role for the evening, give them guidance, or maybe inspire them to play their best ball.

But, again, not for Barton or Thomas Robinson, who turned in career performances Monday night without a single word of advice from a veteran like Wes Matthews.

“Nope, and I’m not going to say anything to them before the next game,” Matthews said. “I got nothing to say to them. They know what they’ve got to do.”

What Barton did Monday was lead the Portland reserves with career playoff highs of 17 points, six rebounds and two assists in The Trail Blazers’ 103-92 win over San Antonio.

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