They were done.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were sitting on the Rose Garden Arena fence, waiting like like a couple of hungry Texas buzzards to pick the Trail Blazers carcass. And then, Brandon Roy swooped in and swallowed this whole series whole.
Portland pulled of a remarkable 23-point comeback with an 84-82 victory. This series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Monday in Dallas. There will be a lot of talk about Roy's heroics, and questions about whether the Blazers can do this again, and I have no doubt that grown-ups belly-bumped in the Rose Garden and also, in their living rooms.
Start right now, by thanking Roy for not giving up on himself. Thank him for his performance. Thank him for the smiles, and the chills, and for turning a Saturday afternoon into a remarkable moment.
Roy scored 18 of his 24 in the second half.
The Mavericks looked sick, one Roy shot at a time.
I knew that Roy would have a big moment in this series. I knew that if the Blazers were going to win the thing, they'd need him. Maybe you did, too. But if you did not, I suppose Saturday left you a believer.
So yeah. Can the Blazers duplicate this? Hold up. Do they really want to? Because as much as I loved the comeback, and the moment in which Roy wiped his tears as he came off the court, I would not like Portland to duplicate its sad first half, or that blasted third quarter.
But isn't it worth making this game a wee bit easier?
Portland can't fall behind by 23 anymore. It can't wait around, shoot 3 for 18 in a quarter, and hope Roy can save the day. It can't show up flat for most of three quarters. It can't look anemic on offense for massive periods of play. Do that again, and I'm not sure the Blazers deserve to have Roy throw on a cape and whisk them out of danger again.
Make no mistake, Roy didn't just take over the game. He is in charge of this series. You saw it in his shots, and passes, and the way the nine other players on the floor with him looked to him during every big moment.
They were done.