Miracle at the Rose Garden: Brandon Roy carries Portland in remarkable comeback; ties series 2-2
It’s pretty difficult right now to describe how we could go from such a feeling of such hopelessness and despair to such a nirvana in just one last quarter. The Portland Trail Blazers who could not buy a basket to save their lives for much of the game, face a 23 point hole heading into the fourth. And at this point, the Dallas Mavericks were warming up their plane back home, ESPN was already writing their recap and it seemed like the perfect time to get started on that college assignment. But something happened. A miracle. I don’t know the statistics of the history of past Blazer games but the City of Portland just witnessed one of the greatest comebacks to ever happen in the Rose Garden. How big? Talk about a 43-18 Portland run. And by who else? Brandon Roy. Yep that’s right, he’s back and I know that whenever Roy has a good game we all say “He’s back! The Natural has returned!” and then once he has a bad outing we return to being bitter. But how can you hate on someone who put this team on his back and took control of the fourth quarter. He scores on most of every Portland possession and give them the lead with 40 seconds left. He won this game and his teammates knew bear-hugging him as the final buzzer sounded as he wiped sweat and tears from his eyes. As the NBA commercials say: This is where amazing happens.
Both clubs started this beautiful afternoon game with sloppy offensive and some hard defensive as the Mavericks went toe-to-toe on every Blazer possession. And it worked, 0-4 field goals to start for Portland and Dallas was up by five, thinking they should be up by tons more (they will get their wish, but not for long). Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were off as well as LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews as Dallas found their points from Shawn Marion and DeShawn Stevenson. The Blazers wouldn’t hit a single field goal until Andre Miller banks in a jump shot at the 7:40 mark and thanks to more pick and roll plays set for Miller, the Blazers are up 9-8. It was short-lived as Nowitzki is found wide open for the three and the Mavs rebuild their lead but as much as Portland was having trouble, so was Dallas. Portland made only 4-16 field goals (0-4 from Aldridge) to end the quarter and none were good-looking shots and had more turnovers than shots. Yeah it was bad and it was going to get worse. Dallas was up 16-11 after one, as Portland tied their history for fewest points in a postseason quarter. The second beings with more of the same as Dallas went up nine points and fueled a 11-2 run in a hurry. Portland was now 5-21 from the floor and 7 turnovers as all the air was sucked out of the Rose Garden. Miller was single handily trying his hardest to put the Blazers back into this game and goes up himself into the paint and attacking the paint helping Portland gain a 10-2 run of their own. Yet the Blazers had themselves some rare momentum as two altercations back-to-back happened as Aldridge vs Tyson Chandler and Miller vs Nowitzki bring Portland only down two at the half, 34-32. Yes that’s right, 32 points at halftime.
SECOND HALF (THE BAD ONE)
I won’t lie; I thought to myself that if I had gone and actually bought tickets to this game, I would be kicking myself right there in the stands. One of the most depressing and frustrating quarters I’ve ever witnessed. Portland miss their first 14 shot attempts. Yes you read that right 0-14 to start the quarter and at this time the Mavs smell blood and attack in whatever way the can, hitting the three, finally getting to the foul line and going to Nowitzki for the jump shot. As time went on Portland’s field goal percentage is just sky falling down all the way to 28%. Dallas start piling up the points at which point Mark Cuban calls up the pilot to warm up the plane. The lead is 11, and like it could get any worse, Dallas sit comfortably up 23 points and up 67-49. TWENTY-THREE POINTS. Portland bank their first made field goal of the quarter from an Aldridge hook shot at the 1:20 mark and the Mavs outscored Portland 30-14 in the entire quarter. Suddenly Brandon Roy walks onto the court, even his top of the key three has trouble going into the hoop. And that’s when Roy took over.
SECOND HALF (THE MAGICAL FOURTH QUARTER)
Portland suddenly start attacking the post, rebounding the ball and running the fast break, like they had been saving the best for last on purpose. Only three minutes in, it appears Portland is in the middle of some sort of comeback that looks out of reach. Roy takes command of most of their possessions and while he starts finding his groove, so do the rest of the team. The Dallas lead that they had thought was all but set in stone in the third was soon dying and the Blazers knew it. Roy knew it. He takes full command of the ship and literally single handily put the Blazers only down eight, then six, four and an incredible four point play ties the game at 82. WHAT? TIED? Yessir! Portland/Roy explode on a 30-13 run and a running jumper to get some space from Marion give Portland the lead for the first time with 40 seconds left. A couple missed shots from Dallas and the Rose Garden is absolutely going berserk. The Blazers have pulled the unthinkable, the unimaginable and tie the series 2-2 heading into Dallas on Monday.
WHO WAS HOT
Roy. He was Mr. Fourth Quarter, he was the one that stepped up and took charge. Someone buy the man dinner tonight on 24 Pts (most damage in fourth), 4 Reb, 5 Ast on 9-13 shooting and 2-5 from deep including the important game changing 4 point play in the last-minute. Just another chapter in Roy’s All-Star career. Four other Blazers in double figures who, if this game had gone Dallas’s way, had quite an off game all together. LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t score until the second quarter and finishes with 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Stl and 3 Blk. Hard to believe too that Andre Miller was the only one producing anything offensively, 14 Pts on 5-10 shooting. The only positive statistics for Portland was their foul shooting as they actually got to the foul line more than Dallas did; 22-23 from the line in their best and won points in the paint 34-24. They also out-run the Mavs with 12-0 points on the fast break. Did I mention the 43-18 run?
Dirk Nowitzki was still productive throughout with 20 Pts. Jason Terry comes off the bench with 13 Pts and nothing else worth mentioning. The Mavs did however play some grade A defensive throughout but as Mavs Moneyball put it, they got “Roy’d”. They feasted on the three ball: 10-26 and hit all 10 free throws.
WHO WAS NOT
Portland’s three-point shooting was less than impressive once again: only 4-19 made. And the first three-quarters as Portland had only 49 points all together. Rudy Fernandez just isn’t getting into the grooves of things this series, he has 2 Pts, 1 Reb and 1 Ast. Portland shoot somewhere in the high 20s for much of the game.
This really says everything about today’s game. Enjoy it Rip City. Be proud for Brandon Roy. Game 5 is on Monday in Dallas.
photos courtesy of nba.com/blazers
articles courtesy of blazersedge.com, espn.com and mavsmoneyball.com