Saturday, April 23, 2011
Updated: April 24, 3:07 PM ET
Mavericks can't find answer for Roy
By Jeff Caplan
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tyson Chandler sat at his locker. He lifted his head that was buried in his large hands and revealed two bloodshot eyes.
He was in disbelief, total disillusionment, that Brandon Roy -- supposedly with two shot knees -- had just danced all over the Dallas Mavericks for 18 points in the fourth quarter, 21 over the final 12:02 and eight in a row in the final 1:36 that included the kill shot.
Throughout Roy's mesmerizing binge and the increasingly deafening roars from the Rose Garden crowd, the Mavs just took it.
"He got on a roll in the fourth and made some things happen," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm going to take the blame for a lot of that. There were different things defensively we could have done, and we should have done some different things. So I'm going to take the blame for that."
The Mavs' 23-point lead -- 67-44 with 1:16 left in the third quarter -- and an in-the-bag 3-1 series lead heading home was ripped to shreds by the 6-foot-6 Roy and the Blazers. The home team celebrated a tied series after its implausible 84-82 win, one that goes down in NBA playoff annals as being only the third time in the shot clock era, dating back 57 years, that a team trailed by 18 or more entering the fourth quarter and won.
Roy single-handedly outscored the Mavs in the fourth quarter, 18-15, and Dallas was trounced 35-15 after winning the third quarter 30-14.
"Isos," Chandler said, referring to the term for isolation plays when one player goes to work with the sole objective to score. "We didn't make any adjustments. He iso'd us and he did what he wanted to at the end of the game. We didn't make any adjustments, period. We didn't make any adjustments guarding him on the floor and we didn't make any adjustments any time. It was obvious."
Roy, who finished with 24 points in just over 24 minutes, turned the fourth quarter into his personal Groundhog Day. He took over at the point and with each trip into the half court, sized up his defender and put on his hard hat. He fearlessly attacked the lane and scored. He stopped and popped midrange jumpers and buried difficult fadeaways.
Seven of Roy's eight fourth-quarter buckets came without assists, and he set up four of the seven baskets he didn't score in the final frame when the Blazers shot a ridiculous 75 percent.
"We've been saying all series that we've been game-planning for him like he's an All-Star," Carlisle said. "And he's had two of those nights now."
Roy, on the verge of tears after a horrible first two games, took over in Game 3 with 16 points and four assists. His teammates praised his courage and leadership after that win, understanding the difficult road the three-time All-Star has traveled. Saturday, he again proved to be the biggest motivating factor on either team.
"I just kept telling the guys, 'Look, we're down 20 points, let's play loose and try to give ourselves a chance,'" Roy said. "When we were making that comeback I never thought we were going to win the game, but I was like, let's push
and keep putting pressure on them to see if we can give ourselves a chance."
In Game 4, he torched the Mavs' smaller guards and then scorched the taller Shawn Marion when Carlisle finally summoned the team's best perimeter defender after more than half a quarter of pine time.
"He was hot already," Marion said. "He hit some tough shots. He already got it going. Once somebody gets it going in this league, it's hard to shut them down."
Still, no double-teams came to force the ball out of Roy's hands. There was no attempt to go to the zone that the Mavs had mastered early in the season and used to win games late. They just let Roy work mano a mano.
"You can always, after the fact, talk about what you could have done or should have done," a sullen Dirk Nowitzki said. "Could have trapped him, could have zoned it; I mean you can go a million ways about it and obviously afterwards you're a lot smarter. But that doesn't help anybody right now. We've all got to take it and got to stay positive."
Still, the Mavs were in control when Marion ended a two-minute scoreless drought for an 82-78 lead with 1:19 left.
Roy then came right back at Marion and baited him behind the arc. Roy went up, nailed the 25-footer and drew the foul on Marion. He hit the free throw and the game was tied at 82-82 with 1:06 left.
"I guess it was a foul," Marion said. "It is what it is."
Jason Terry couldn't take back the lead on a 3-ball attempt and Portland was awarded possession after the review of a loose ball that went out of bounds and was initially given to Dallas.
Roy set up the offense at the top of the arc. He sized up Marion, took him to the middle of the paint, stopped, rose up and banked the sucker in for the Blazers' first lead since 9-8.
Jason Kidd would badly misfire on a 3-pointer and after Roy finally missed on a late shot-clock 3 with time ticking down, Terry's game-winning attempt hit back iron.
Remarkably, Roy, the player the Mavs continue to game plan for like he's an All-Star, added another dark chapter to the Mavs' grisly playoff past.
Chandler, in just his first season with the Mavs but fully aware of the catastrophic past, couldn't believe it.
"We let one dude who didn't do anything the whole game beat us," Chandler said.
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.