Roy Makes History in Game 4
There were 20,357 in attendance at the Rose Garden on Saturday. Ten years from now, there will be 50,000 saying they were there. That's how big this was.
It was crazy. I'd say it was unbelievable, but that doesn't do it justice. I called the game on TV, and can't wait to go back and watch it just to see what the heck I was saying. I really don't remember.
It was only the third time in the shot-clock era that an NBA team came from 18+ down, enterting a fourth quarter, and won a playoff game. You know you've done something special when you start tossing out terms like "in the shot-clock era." Yes, it was also the largest fourth-quarter comback in Trail Blazers playoff history.
We've seen big comebacks before. Sometimes you can feel them coming. This one? Sorry. Admit it. You didn't see this coming. Not this way. Not on this day.
Even though in the back of your mind you perhaps knew Brandon Roy still had the capability to do something like this, you didn't think it would be now, in this situation. Not after what we saw for three quarters.
The Trail Blazers, completely stagnant on offense, sapped of confidence, and unable to slow down Dallas, trailed this game 67-44, with :34 seconds to go in the third quarter. Again, they trailed this game 67-44. And, because of Portland's offensive woes on this day, that 23-point lead might as well have been 50.
Roy stunned so many people with his 16-point night in game 3. Dallas shrugged it off.
In a preview of game 4, an article out of Dallas this morning said this: Sure, Blazers icon Brandon Roy scored 16 points off the bench and inspired his teammates, but does anyone expect him to repeat that performance?
I got that in an e-mail right before I left for the arena on Saturday morning. Scott Zachry sent the article to me and suggested I print it. I did. I placed it on Brandon's chair in front of his locker at about 10:30 am. I highlighted the above sentance. It was just one writer's opinion, but I felt it pretty much summed up what I had been hearing out of Dallas, following Game 3.
I'm not suggesting that piece of paper had anything to do with what we would later see Roy do. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have expected what he did in the fourth quarter.
What he did was put his entire team on his shoulders. He resurrected (pardon the pun here at Eastertime) the Blazer offense, and gave them hope. He sparked a comeback. He scored 18 fourth-quarter points, and helped his team outscore Dallas 35-15 in the final quarter. He recorded a rare four-point play with 1:07 left. His freethrow tied the game at 82. Then, he hit a runner in the lane, off the glass, and gave Portland the 84-82 lead. Then, he got in Jason Terry's face, and effected his last-second heave from behind the arc, that would have won the game for the Mavericks. It clanked off the iron, and the celebration was on.
It all happened so fast, and came absolutely out of nowhere. I had to check the scoreboard three times before I could get myself to say "Blazers win!"
In that fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers were 15 for 20 from the field. The Mavericks went 5 for 17. I've never seen the tables turned so dramatically, or so quickly. Keep in mind, the Trail Blazers went 4 for 16 in the first quarter, and missed 17 shots at one point during the third quarter, when they went 3 for 18.
That's the magic of all of this. That's why it was so shocking, and will go down as the most dramatic fourth quarter in this team's playoff history. It wasn't just the fourth quarter. It was how
it happened, and how it came on the heels of one of the most dismal third quarters in playoff history.
Throughout this series I've been saying that only the teams with "closers" have a chance. That's why, even after Game 2, I said I would have started Roy in Game 3. You HAVE to have Roy to have a chance in this series.
This is why.
I spent a few moments with Roy at his locker right after the game, before he went to the post-game press conference. I started to tell him how great this all was, and then just admitted to him that I never let myself start to think this team would actually win this game. He agreed. That might surprise you. He said he was just taking it possession by possession, and simply wanted to put pressure on Dallas to see what would happen
. I said I got what he was saying. He then said it was all a blur. Assistant coach Kaleb Canales then came over and kissed him on the head.
Even if this only stretches this series out for another game, it'll still be the stuff of legend. Obviously, the goals are more lofty than that. This could springboard the team into Game 5 in Dallas, and back to Portland for Game 6.
As for the Mavericks? The collar just got awfully tight. They were in total command of this series, and were minutes away from putting themselves in a position to close the Blazers out in Dallas. Now? Who knows. The pressure is now back on them. As we've been saying, things can change quickly in a long seven-game series. Guess what? They just changed.
Portland has been given a second chance, and new life. What will they do with it? We'll find out on Monday.
To listen to Roy's post-game comments (with some LaMarcus Aldridge as well), click here
To hear Nate McMillan's post-game interview, click here.