Apr 23

The Number 23

By Patch Posted in: Blazers, BrandonRoy, Mavericks
Photo by Bruce Ely/The Oregonian

The league's history has placed this number into an elite category.

Jerseys that have adorned this number have also inspired greatness and vitriol. If taken as an amount of minutes, it can be said that once 23 of those have passed, the 24th minute can make all the difference in a game. In traditional team sets there are two players who enforce and a triangle of three players that set the plays and picks and offense.
23 was the largest point deficit that the Blazers faced in the game, and it came with about a minute remaining in the third quarter. Most other teams and their fans would have hung up their jerseys and accepted their fate as inevitable.

But this was not so for Brandon Roy who listened to teammate Nicolas Batum, "You're an All-Star, a 3-time All-Star. Take the ball. They can't stop you. You just have to believe in yourself."

An All-Star. Belief. Trust.

Another quote sprang to mind after I read Batum's statement, "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." That was Michael Jordan. Number 23.

Tonight's fourth quarter stats and breakdowns and reactions will be posted all over the blogs and sports shows. My point is
about the effort we witnessed tonight. Calls by the official can be questioned and debated. But erasing 23 points in 12 minutes of play and winning a lost game by two is not something that happens just because it's desired or wished for.

Dallas fell apart because Brandon Roy got out there with the rest of the team and made it happen.

In the end there was redemption for a player who has undergone physical and social stresses that would crush other people. The team stood by him and with him while critics and nay-sayers shook their heads in disbelief of this spectacle.

As the team returns to Dallas for Game Five on Monday, it will be difficult for anyone to believe that the home court belongs to the Mavericks after today. Because it seems that Number 7 has a home court advantage whenever he goes out and makes it happen.

Tonight he scored one better than 23. A fitting statement to cap the performance of a lifetime, performed on the 23rd of April.


  1. Great blog there Patch! I grew up a huge Fan of MJ, and remember many of his playoff battles when he was trying to get past the Pistons, and then ultimately when he was on another stratosphere among his peers. Today's 4th quarter was like that. Everyone...EVERYONE knew the ball was going through him in the 4th and there were no answers, no solutions.

    The difference between Roy and MJ is MJ never had that career altering injury. BUT, as MJ aged, he realized he couldn't just jump over people or blow past them. Hopefully Roy's knees allow him to continue to adapt his game to his physical skill set, because like MJ he has IT, I can't define IT, but I know Roy has IT.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 4/23/2011 7:28 PM
  2. Fantastic work Patch!

    by sarahhecht on 4/23/2011 9:22 PM
  3. Thanks RCS! I'm very appreciative of both your and BP's critiques.

    Go Blazers!

    by Patch on 4/24/2011 8:23 AM
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