Kassandra

Apr 23

Winning game four was 'Natural'

By Kassandra Posted in: Blazers, BrandonRoy, LaMarcusAldridge, Mavericks, WesleyMatthews


I rarely write a blog after a single game. However, following the Trail Blazers 84-82 win over the Mavericks in game four, I am left with no choice ... and that's a good thing.

I probably don't have to tell you about the outcome, or how Portland arrived to the victory. I'll startby repeating the name which has the BlazerNation rocking on this Saturday evening: Brandon Roy.

The Blazers dug themselves a hole for the first, shall we say, 34 minutes of this game. They were out rebounded, out shot and generally out played. Dallas led by as many as 23 points in the third. By the end of the third quarter, Portland had just 49 points.Yet, the most important points at that time were the last three. Brandon hit a three-pointer with just under two seconds.

Despite the score being 67-49 heading into the final quarter, Brandon and his team were merely getting started.

"The Natural" shot, drove the lane, faded away and maneuvered his way to 18 fourth-quarter points while leading a not impossible -- but highly improbable -- comeback. He looked like the Brandon of old; the Brandon who a few naysayers have said we would never see again. The naysayers were wrong.

Brandon took over this game, just like he's done for the Blazers countless times before. He did it in his style. He was slow, methodical and dedicated.

Portland narrowed the lead to 15, and then down to seven before a Jason Terry three-pointer extended Dallas' lead back to 10. Wesley Matthews made a driving layup and Brandon followed that with one of his own. the Blazers were down just 80-74 with 2:32 to go.

After a turnaround jumper by LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon hit a long jumper (nearly a three, but his toe was on the three-point line) to narrow the Mavericks' lead to two. Sean Marion made a short jumper to send Dallas up 82-78. It would be the Mavericks' last points of the game.

It was then time for The Natural to finish off the game. He was fouled on a step-back three, converting it into a four-point play, and the game was tied. His driving floater with 39.2 seconds gave Portland it's margin of victory.

He scored 18 of his 24 points in the final quarter. He also had four rebounds and five assists -- all in just 24-and-a-half minutes.

Brandon has had a frustrating season. There has been speculation that he will never return to be the player he was before. Mostly, there are a lot of unknowns about the future of Brandon's career. Perhaps at this point, he doesn't really know. Since his return just weeks ago from surgery on both knees, he's had a rough time of it (refer to my previous blog Roy has Earned Respect, Support). It's been an incredible adjustment for him and the team, to figure out the best way to use him in the lineup. Truthfully, quite a bit of the time it hasn't gone well.

Brandon scored 16 points in the Blazers game three win Thursday night and was commonly referred to as one of the heroes of that game, and rightfully so.

On Saturday afternoon, he was amazing, incredible, terrific, wonderful and any other synonyms you'd like to add. True, the team should never have put themselves in that deep a hole in a playoff game at home (I'm guessing Nate is going to address that with the team over the next couple of days).

Brandon's performance in game four served two major purposes: One, Portland got the win and tied the series at 2-2. Two, he's put together two very strong games back-to-back. That's a huge confidence builder and it's only going to make him better and, therefore, the team better.

I can't remember seeing anything quite like the comeback in game four. I've been told that only three teams have come back from a deficit of 18 or more points entering the fourth quarter of a playoff game since the shot clock was adopted. That's in the entire NBA.

The win -- rather, they way in which the Blazers won -- may also pay another dividend. Of course, that depends on what's going through the minds of the Mavericks players up and through game five Monday at Dallas. How will they react after blowing that second-half lead? Will the ghosts of Mavericks playoffs past come back to haunt them? We shall see.

I support Brandon and I've been saying for quite some time in blog comments and and message boards. My point has been this: I understand that he may never be exactly the same as he was, but I want to know he's capable of it. My question was answered today.

Brandon Roy is back.

~ Kassandra
        
Next Story: Reflections

14 Comments

  1. Nice recap of the Brandon's big day. My hope is, that this isn't his best moment of the series. Maybe a game winner Monday night :) Based off his numbers, 16 in game 3, 24 in game 4....game 5 should be a great night. But, as long as it's a win, I know Brandon will be Happy.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 4/23/2011 8:05 PM
  2. Great recap Kass. I think Roy's throwing away the box that LaMarcus threw away. Both are here for real.

    by Herr on 4/23/2011 8:20 PM
  3. Hope the evening out goes well and thanks for this great report on the night's game.

    See you in the chat and hopefully at Game 6 his coming Thursday!

    by Patch on 4/23/2011 8:47 PM
  4. KASS!!!!!!! I can't believe I missed this!! Great blog sweetheart! I am literally shaking, as I've just woken up to find that we are tied 2-2. I missed a classic and it almost hurts. I so wish I could have been in the chat with you guys when this happened! I am of course, SO VERY HAPPY AND EXCITED!!!! We clearly didn't give up, though the first three quarters were just so ugly from our end. gosh, I just can't believe it . . . this is just too good!

    Yes, Brandon is BACK!!!!! Again, nicely done.

    by Anees on 4/24/2011 2:22 AM
  5. Good blog with good intended puns. I'm simply in awe and speechless at this moment. I don't believe any of us have witness such an improbable and thus impressive come back. The many metaphors and symbolism in this past week have been mind blogging and leave me befuddled.

    What also leaves me befuddled are your comments during the game chat. You stated that the team was "trying" on offense. I think they were just flummoxed by their inability to hit open shots and were in constant thinking flux rather than just playing and having fun and letting it come natural. It took "the Natural" to restore order and order is restored.

    Question: What should be our teams mindset in game 5? Go out loosey goosey or go straight in with urgency for the kill. I suggest the latter. What say you?

    by Roland on 4/24/2011 12:08 AM
  6. Kassandra, I kept missing your blog, but finally found it and have subscribed to it so from now on I will get it in my e-mail. Sorry about that, I wasn't ignoring you just Internet challenged.

    I wrote a note to you on Barrett's blog that maybe with BRoy the closure we only need to bring it for 12 minutes instead of 48. but forty eight minutes of offense would have helped.

    The Mavs defense needs to be given a lot of credit, but not that much credit. Like you, I don't feel we should not have dug ourselves that big of a hole, but I don't think they meant to they just couldn't figure out how not to keep digging the hole. Then as said by XBlazerfan on BE "Off comes the Clark Kent glasses and the super hero emerges without the cape. game over!!!!

    Thanks for putting in all this effort, I will be here more often now that I found you again.

    by Hg on 4/24/2011 8:41 AM
  7. BP: are you saying he's going to go for 32?! well, now that would be just fine with me!

    Herr: for the first time perhaps all season, Brandon strung two great games in a row. i think that's cause for optimism.

    Patch: my dorm mate and i had a great time celebrating last night; even got ahead in line at one club because the bouncer saw us in our blazers jerseys and he hates the lakers!

    Anees: how can you have turned that off after the third?! that's when Brandon was just getting started!

    Roland: in-game chat and post-game blog are much different animals. at the time in the game i said certain things about lack of effort, it was true -- even Wheels and Tone were saying the same types of things. i know you're out there to hound me and call me on everything i say, but you should try and get past that.

    Hg: i saw your comment about the 12 minutes thing (and have responded). i love the exception to the rule, especially when it turns out in a win for us! the first three quarters compared to the fourth was just unreal. it really is a Clark Kent vs. Superman thing!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 4/24/2011 4:09 PM
  8. Unfortunately..I only think Roy is going to go for 28 points on Monday (previously I didn't list that he had 0 points in game 2 so his increases the last few games have been +16 and +8 as his confidence has exploded). So it's a declining increase, but still an increase. and he will be +4 for this next game to reach 28 and 30 points for the close-out victory Thursday in the RG. Clear as Mud?

    But...I think you'll be happy with 28 & 30, and I know Roy will be happy with 2 victories however the points and minutes come his way.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 4/24/2011 5:14 PM
  9. Great recap Kassandra. You hit every nail on the head for those who missed it. I will admit i was ready to turn the channel and be done with the game. I turned away for about 5 mins and could help but turn back. I was thinking they could come back but they would run out of energy at the end and come up short. Man was i sooo wrong! im glad i was because that was the most exciting and heart pounding come back i have seen from the blazers ever and i have watched for 23 years. The only time i felt that excitied and had my heart pounding was when the fakers came back and beat US after we were up by 18 in the west finals in 2000. Again great blog

    by David Harrison on 4/24/2011 6:20 PM
  10. BP: Brandon wants to win, true, and he wants to do everything possible to make that happen.

    David: the thought about running out of steam before completing the comeback occurred to me as well. when we got it down to 10, i was afraid we would slow down or that dallas might go on a little run. LaMarcus even said after the game that he wished he had more a chance to celebrate with Brandon, but he was about to pass out. i'm really glad we won it in regulation!

    by Kassandra on 4/24/2011 8:32 PM
  11. Brandon Roy doesn't have to repeat. Brandon Roy doesn't have to score big numbers, but Brandon Roy is back and The Mavs are going to have to deal with him no matter how much he scores.

    One point that has not been mentioned about the game. Did anybody notice who got back and had a hand in Jet's face when he missed that last 3. No other then our BRoy. Now I can't say that BRoy saved that shot from going in but I can say he hustled back and forced JET to rush his shot. Then again don't forget that Jasen Terry and BRoy was classmates and has played so many games together.

    by Hg on 4/24/2011 8:41 PM
  12. When I was watching that game, it was amazing. Every time Roy was taking it down the court in those last minutes, I was just so comfortable with him having the ball, I knew the game was in his heads and I knew he was going to do it. He just looked so damn good out there.

    by Mike Hobizal on 4/25/2011 12:52 PM
  13. Hg: so true. i just hope Brandon has a solid game and gives dallas a lot more to think about than before. he can still create and pass off (how about those four assists in the fourth?!) an even makes some plays on defense. and that leads me to your other point. in listening to Wheels while watching the game on tnt, i remember Wheels yelling "get back Brandon, get back!" he made Terry rush his shot and altered that shot a little bit. he looked great on that play!

    Mike Hobizal: thanks for commenting. a friend of mine told me that this was the 2009 Brandon we saw out there, and i have to believe it. when it became clear that this was going to be his game, like you, i became more confident that we could come back. Wheels kept asking, "the blazers are making a comeback, but did they wait too long.? in comparing dallas diminishing lead with the clock, i didn't feel we'd waited too long at all. after all, we had the ball in the hands of The Natural.

    by Kassandra on 4/25/2011 1:46 PM
  14. Hey Kasey! That was an incredible game. I haven't seen anything like that comeback either. It was amazing and so was Brandon! I hope we see more of that from him except for being behind by so much.

    by julianne on 4/26/2011 3:17 PM
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