Vindication, or something nearly like that. Brandon Roy’s fourth quarter last night against the Mavs, scoring 18 points in that quarter alone, singlehandidly erasing the 18 point deficit Portland were facing entering the final chapter of the game was too good to be true.
After another injury that put him down this season early on, it seemed that Roy’s short flirt with the NBA’s elite is over. His return as a player coming off the bench wasn’t succesful. For an All-Star to suddenly play no more than 20-24 minutes a night and find it hard to make it out of single digits while shooting under 40% from the field since returning is anything but easy.
The speed, the physcial advantages, gone. Not to mention what a mind does to limit you after returning from yet another injury. After the two losses in Games 1 & 2, Roy spoke out about his limited playing time. First reaction – How dare he? He got 26 minutes in game 1, managing only one field goal while jacking up 7 shots. He didn’t even make the only free throw he attempted. Game 2? Only 8 minutes without a single point, with one turnover his only “contribution” on the stat sheet. I guess coming back home changed things.
Roy isn’t a ego-maniac with a knack for self and surround destruction implanted in him, a la Marbury. Roy compalined out of frustration, probably more about himself than anything else. His Game 3 production, 16 points in 24 minutes with energy and vigor that seemed long gone only set up the Game 4 performance. LaMarcus Aldridge carried the Blazers on his back during the season. Bringing in Gerald Wallace near the end hasn’t added the offensive punch it was expected to.
As the front court struggled, Brandon Roy stood up like his knees and head are just fine. Well, maybe they are, and Roy just needed to shake off the rust over a long period of time. I don’t expect Roy to be this good in the next game. “I’ve been in some pretty good zones before. But nothing like tonight.” Portland have never made it through to the conference Semi Finals since Roy was drafted. If he can stay in this form, especially in the visits to Texas, I think Portland have the edge over the Mavs. It’s all a matter of focus and the ability to shake off mental inhibitions caused by multiple injuries. Last night, for about one quarter, the most important of all, Roy seemed free and like the best player on the court, as he should be.