Saturday, April 23, 2011

Roy helps Blazers overcome 23 point deficit to win game four 84-82 over Mavs!

By Kshell

The Portland Trail Blazers were getting destroyed on their home floor 67-44 to the Dallas Mavericks then everything changed. That is when former three time all-star Brandon Roy put the Blazers on his back to even up the series at two games a piece. Roy led the Blazers on a 40-15 charge scoring 21 of his 24 points over the last 13 minutes of the game. Roy looked like the Roy of of 2009 hitting one clutch shot after another. This is why sports is so great you just never know what is going to happen. The Blazers looked about as helplessly out of a ballgame I had seen. The Blazers had one of the worst quarters in NBA playoff history in the third quarter followed by one of their best in franchise history. That mostly due to Brandon Roy hitting one tough shot after another in the fourth. Roy after tying the game up with a four point play would then hit the go ahead bucket to put the Blazers up 84-82 with 39.5 seconds left. Now the Blazers will fly to Dallas with the series tied. For the Mavericks this will be one of the longer plane flights home for a franchise who has choked many times before.

The first quarter reminded people of the 2011 college basketball national title game. Both teams were pretty horrible hitting shots especially the Blazers. The Mavericks led 16-11 after one quarter due to the Blazers shooting so poorly. The Blazers had just two guys score with Andre Miller scoring six points and Wesley Matthews scoring five points. LaMarcus Aldridge had missed all four field goal attempts. The Blazers shot just 4-16(25.0%) from the field in the first quarter. The Mavericks were led by DeShawn Stevenson who scored six points while making two three pointers. Dirk Nowitzki for the fourth straight game struggled in the first quarter scoring just three points on one for five shooting. The Mavericks made 6-19(32.0%) from the field but did make four of seven three pointers. In the second quarter would feature more scoring by both teams.

In the second quarter the Mavericks sprinted out to a 33-23 lead on the Blazers determine to put the Blazers away. The Blazers would respond by going on a 10-2 run to end half down just 37-35. For the Mavericks they shot 10-23(43.4%) for the quarter. They were led by Nowitzki who scored six points on three for four shooting. The Mavericks for the half were led by Nowitzki scoring nine points on four for nine shooting. Jason Kidd had scored six points on two for three shooting including two three pointers and two steals. For the half the Mavericks had shot 16-42(38.1%) from the field and 5-10(50.0%) from three point range. The Mavericks had a chance to put the Blazers away but let the Blazers pull within two points.

For the Blazers that 10-2 run gave them momentum going into the second half. In the second quarter the Blazers shot much better at 7-15(46.7%) from the field and were 10-10(100.0%) from free throws. The Blazers saw Gerald Wallace, Miller and Aldridge all score six points. For the half the Blazers were led by Miller who scored 12 points on four for six shooting and was perfect on four free throw attempts. Matthews scored seven points while making a three pointer on three for six shooting. Aldridge continued to struggle scoring six points on one for seven shooting but had three block shots. In fact the Blazers had seven block shots in the first half. Wallace scored six points on two for five shooting but grabbed seven rebounds. The Blazers defense and free throws were saving them as they were 12-12 from the foul line in the first half. The Blazers who had momentum would play their worst quarter of the season in the third quarter.

The third quarter was a disaster for the Blazers as the Mavericks looked to put them away this game and for the series. The Blazes missed their first 12 field goal attempts of the quarter. The Blazers didn't make their first field goal until 1:32 left in the third quarter. The Mavericks came out on a run leading 54-39 then their largest lead of the game 67-44. The Blazers would end the quarter on a 5-0 run including a Roy three pointer to close the lead to 67-49. At that point the game and the series for that matter appeared to be over. The Mavericks had outscored the Blazers 30-14 in the third quarter. The Mavericks shot 10-17(58.9%) from the field and made four of eight from three point range. The Mavericks were perfect on six free throw attempts. To that point Nowitzki had scored 16 points on 6-14 shooting. Shawn Marion had scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Peja Stojakovic had made two three pointers that quarter to give him six points. For the Blazers they had shot just 3-18(16.7%) from the field. They were led by Miller who had 12 points and Aldridge who had 12 points on just 3-12 shooting. The Blazers game four hopes looked done then Brandon Roy took over.

The fourth quarter was pretty magical to see Roy lead the comeback. I had text my friend throughout the whole game. He was optimistic and mentioned how this could be like Celtics-Nets game three of 2002 when the Blazers had pulled within 73-62 and Roy was going off. The Mavericks who to that point were shooting 26-59(44.1%) from the field couldn't buy a bucket. While the Blazers who to that point were shooting 14-49(28.6%) from the field couldn't miss. The Blazers who were trailing 80-72 with under three minutes to go continued the late charge. Then with under a 1:15 left in the game the Blazers trailed 82-78 Roy hits a three pointer and was fouled by Marion. Roy sank the free throw to tie the game up at 82-82. The Rose Garden crowd to that point was going crazy. Then after a defensive stop the Blazers put the ball in Roy's hands once again and he delivered. Roy hit the mid range jump shot just inside the free throw line with 39.5 seconds left to give the Blazers an 84-82 lead. After a Kidd missed three the Blazers had a chance to put the game away. Roy would miss the three pointer but would get back in time on defense to cover Jason Terry who missed the potential game winner as time expired. The Blazers had pulled off the comeback win 84-82. For the quarter the Mavericks shot just 5-17(29.4%) from the field and made just one out of eight three point attempts. For the Blazers they shot 15-20(75.0%) from the field as Roy scored 18 points in the final quarter. The Blazers had pulled off the miracle win to even the series now.

For the Mavericks this loss has to hurt and for the next 48 hours their previous playoff failures will be brought up. To this date the Mavericks have been mentally weak and now they return home knowing they blew a golden opportunity this series. The Mavericks had a 2-0 series lead and a 23 point lead in game four. Now the series is tied at 2-2 which has to be a shock. For the Mavericks they were led by Nowitzki who scored 20 points on 7-17 shooting but had just two rebounds. Then Marion had a good game for the Mavericks scoring 12 points on 6-11 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds. The key was both Kidd and Terry had bad games. For Kidd he scored nine points while making three three's but didn't make a shot in the fourth quarter. For Terry he had 13 points on 5-16 shooting and had the worst +/- on the team with a negative 15 in his 32 minutes of playing time. For one team suffering that means another team is jumping for joy which the Blazers have to be doing right now.

For the Blazers to pull this comeback off in basically a must win was impressive. The Blazers have all the confidence in the world plus their former all-star is playing like an all-star the last two games. Roy after scoring just two points the first two games has scored 40 points the last two games. The Blazers were led by Roy who scored 24 points off the bench on 9-13 shooting while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out five assists. Aldridge had a nice fourth quarter finishing with 18 points on 6-16 shooting but was three for four in the fourth quarter. Miller continued his strong playoffs scoring 14 points on 5-10 shooting while Matthews scored 11 points on 4-10 shooting. Then Wallace who 10 points on three for nine shooting also grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double. Now the Blazers will fly to Dallas knowing Roy is back and have all the confidence.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how both teams react to this comeback win by the Blazers. Will the Mavericks give up on the series and let this lose carry over to game five? Will the Blazers have a false sense of hope now? Should be interesting as game five is a very pivotal game especially for the Mavericks. If Roy is playing like this the Blazers might be the second or third best team in the Western Conference. That is the key for the playoffs they are a solid team without Roy now and if he is the Roy of 2009 they are tough to beat. The Mavericks have to be worried as the playoff choke jobs of 2006,2007, and 2010 will be brought up yet again. For one team this will be a great flight to Dallas while for another team they will be in shock as to what exactly happened. Should be a great game five to see how both teams react.


- I felt Aldridge had a poor first three quarters but once again still managed to score 18 points. Aldridge started the game off missing six of his first seven shots and six of those shots were long jumpers. Then in the fourth Aldridge managed to score six points making three of four jumpers. Aldridge is having a nice playoff series as I've talked about before. The good news is when Roy is playing well Aldridge doesn't have to averaged 25+ points a game.

For the series now Aldridge is averaging 22.3 points per game while grabbing 6.5 rebounds a game. He is shooting 36-75(48.0%) from the field for the series. The key is unlike the first two games he isn't getting dominated by Nowitzki in fact he is actually outscoring Nowitzki in the fourth quarter unlike the games in Dallas.

- After the game one loss fans called in to 1080 the fan on the post game show and complained how Roy played too many minutes. Then after game two when Roy complained about a lack of playing time again fans complained how he was "selfish". Those same "fans" are probably praising him right now which is nothing new for Roy. While Greg Oden and other Blazers constantly get a free pass those same "supporting" fans seem to do the same for their only all-star in the last 10 years.

Roy put the team on his back scoring 24 points on 9-13 shooting. Roy scored 21 points during the Blazers 40-15 run in the final 13 minutes to win the game. Roy tied the game with his four point play then won the game on the next possession. Roy also made it so Terry had to shoot a tough shot on the final shot of the game. Roy after struggling down in Dallas the past two games in Portland both wins by the way has averaged 20.0 points per game on 15-23(65.2%) shooting from the field. If Roy continues to play like these two games in Portland the Blazers will win this series in six games.

- Nate McMillan improves his playoff record to 14-18 and is now 5-1 all-time in game four's. In game five's he is 2-3 all-time and 0-3 on the road. McMillan got on his guys about the effort at the end of the third quarter and once again trusted Roy. In the fourth when Roy was on fire he didn't even try to rest Roy he let Roy be Roy. Now McMillan can only hope that this Roy comes to play for him down in Dallas. This is the Blazers ace up their sleeve. McMillan pressed all the right buttons at home but now must find a way to win on the road which he is only 3-13 all-time on the road.

In conclusion, I think this game really will come back to win two games for the Blazers. I don't think the Mavericks are mentally tough enough to overcome a defeat like the one they experienced today. The Blazers know all the pressure is on the Mavericks in game five at home. The local media is going to be talking about the Mavericks previous playoff failures for tomorrow and game day. While the Blazers will be relaxed knowing they have nothing to lose this game. The Blazers also know if they win coming back home up three games to two the series is over. The Blazers just have to hope for Roy to keep playing like he is playing and they should be fine. While the Mavericks have to find a way to get Nowitzki involved in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki down in Dallas averaged 16.0 points per game in the fourth quarter while in Portland he scored 6.5 points per game. The series now goes back to Dallas and now becomes a best of three games. For the Blazers they'll gladly take that while the Mavericks have to wonder what happened. Game five should be interesting to see how the Mavericks react. Just remember if Roy is back to being 2009 version of Roy the Blazers will not only win this series but they'll push the Lakers the following series. Now the Blazers just hope Roy can deliver once again down in Dallas.

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