Jeez, Guys, It’s Just Tied: Notes on the Dallas-Portland Series

Listen. LISTEN. Everything is going to be OK.

Before Game 3, I said this, via Twitter: “Prediction: Brandon Roy tonight = last five minutes of The Wrestler.” I was premature, but my point stands: this was going to happen. Roy was going to go until his heart exploded — so to speak — at one of those home games. He just was. If you follow the NBA, you know that, oftentimes, the league is the closest cousin to professional wrestling among legitimate sports. I’m not talking about the officiating (not right now, at least). I’m talking about story lines.

As soon as it was reported that Roy almost cried during Game 2, when he played a handful of minutes and wasn’t even the first guard off the Portland bench, I knew that something like Game 4 was coming. Maybe not that quarter, exactly, but something very much like it. Some heroic time-warp moment wherein Roy — the former All-Star, the former face of the franchise, the former owner of any usable cartilage in his old-man knees — would leave aside injury and hurt feelings and conventional wisdom and everything else. He would remind everyone — for a few possessions, for a quarter, for a half — of all that he used to be and would rarely be again. And he did, finishing his run with an emotional, tear-stained interview on the court. This was always going to happen.

The NBA works like this. They make more sports movies about baseball and baseball players doing this kind of thing, but it happens in basketball more than any other sport. But listen: the series isn’t over. It’s tied. Is Brandon Roy going to do this again? I doubt it. There might be a slight return in Game 6, when he’s back in Portland and his knees are full of adrenaline and pride, but look at Roy’s season. He’s averaged 9.5 points since December. This was a Steve Kerr game. Not a Dwyane Wade series. Don’t get it twisted.

Also:

  • At the bottom of the game story that ran on the ESPN site, it noted the last teams to blow a lead close to that big in the playoffs. They named two. One from 2002 that I can’t remember just now, and this game, where the Houston Rockets wasted a 100-82 lead on the Phoenix Suns, losing 124-117 in overtime. It’s actually worse than it sounds; PHX finished the game on a 42-17 run. What happened to that Rockets team? Oh, they went on to win that series (despite being down 0-2), then won the Western Conference Finals, and then the NBA title. No big deal. I’m not saying the Mavs will win the title. I’m saying: a loss is a loss. Stop crying over it.
  • Stop saying this is the same team that blew the series against Miami, then got punked out by Golden State. Those ghosts mostly live elsewhere. All that’s left from those teams is Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. Which, I understand, might bring out the “Dallas will never win a title with Dirk as its centerpiece” folks. Fine. If that’s true, it won’t be because Nowitzki. All he’s done since the 2007 playoffs is average 26.7 points and 9.35 rebounds while shooting almost 50 percent. He’s come through in the clutch (his fourth quarters in Games 1 & 2 decided Games 1 & 2), and he’s come through while in the middle of horrific personal drama (as he did two years ago when he had to deal with folks like Brett Shipp while also dealing with the Denver Nuggets). He even tried to stem Portland’s run on Saturday afternoon with a drive to the basket, and if he’d gotten the call — and just about every superstar in the NBA gets that call — it would have been “game, blouses.” So, stop. Just stop. But yes, JET’s shot selection is, hm, let’s say debatable.
  • This is probably going seven. But that was to be expected. Still like the Mavs.

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