Brandon Roy's Last Stand

By Chris Reichert

“When people ask me what did I do in the fourth quarter, I’ll tell them I stood in the corner and watched the Brandon Roy Show.”- Gerald Wallace

If you were lucky enough to watch game four of the first round of the NBA playoffs where the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers provided an epic game, then you have no problem whatsoever understanding the quote above by Gerald Wallace. However, if you missed it and only took a snapshot of Brandon Roy’s 2010-11 season then you might be confused right now – even three years later.

The 2010-11 season was the worst season of Brandon Roy’s injury-shortened career (if you try to bring up 2012-13 with the Timberwolves I will punch you). Roy only played in 47 games that year and averaged 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists (all career lows), while starting only 23 games. Needless to say this was not the Roy that Portland fans came to know and love from 2006-2010.

The numbers were even worse in three games against the Dallas Mavericks at 11.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor, 25 percent from 3-point range and 62.5 percent from the charity stripe – all below his career averages of .459/.348/.800.

Fast forward to April 23, 2011 and apparently the Mavericks – who seemingly had game four in hand with a 23-point lead – decided to give Brandon Roy an epic “going away” gift. Scratch that. Brandon Roy snatched the fourth quarter by the throat and left us with a memory so thrilling that it will be ingrained in our brains for all of eternity.

It’s difficult to get the full context of how much of a miracle this really was, but this video by Max Frishberg (@MaxaMillion711) will surely help:

Roy told the Associated Press after the game, “I’ve been in some pretty good zones before, but nothing like tonight.” Roy scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Blazers erase an 18-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, which is tied for the second largest comeback in NBA playoff history.

Let’s give it a little more perspective. For the first 33 minutes of the game Roy had managed to tally a whopping two points and zero assists, however he either scored or assisted of 14 of the Blazers’ final 17 made field goals and accounted for 33 of the team’s final 43 points! Roy finished the game with 24 points, four rebounds and five assists in one of the most epic comebacks in NBA playoff history.

I vividly remember watching this game and going from wildly disappointed, with my head in my hands to jumping up and down with the excitement of a six-year old boy on Christmas Day who just ran downstairs to see his brand new bicycle. You hear about these things from your parents who tell you stories of the past greats, but until you see them firsthand it really is difficult to explain just how awesome they are.

This game holds both an endearing and sad place in my heart, because the memory of that fourth quarter will never, ever fade. Yet, it’s sad because this was the last time that Brandon Roy was the Brandon Roy that we all fell in love with as NBA fans. Roy ended up playing only seven more games (though I blank out the five games in a Timberwolves’ jersey) in his career and never again did he score more than 20 points in a game.

When you think of Brandon Roy, you will undoubtedly think of what could have been if he had been able to continue playing without injury. However I challenge that thought and implore you to think of this game (or the game-winning shot against the Rockets) because this is how we should remember one of the greats of the NBA – even if he was only great for a few seasons.

Editor’s Note: Chris Reichert (@Chris_Reichert) loves basketball in any form and writes for Fansided’s HoopsHabit and SB Nation’s RidiculousUpside.

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