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NBA Playoffs Blazers Suns Game 4: The vengeful return of Brandon Roy

Apr 24, 2010, 11:51 PM EDT

The Blazers needed an emotional lift. Something to get their crowd back into the zone after a deflating Game 3. Something to give them just a little bit of a push at both ends. And Brandon Roy, out for two weeks following surgery to repair a torn miniscus, making an early return? That’ll do it.

Roy came in and played absolutely huge in limited minutes, while the Portland defense held the Suns to a season low, and just. Like. That. 96-87. Series tied 2-2.

This one’s starting to get a little tense. After Amar’e elbow last game, you had two flagrants called in this one. One was Jerryd Bayless, who played brilliantly with passion, but got too worked up in transition. The other? Channing Frye made a moderate swipe on a Nic Batum fastbreak and was called for what may be the weakest flagrant foul in the history of professional basketball?

And you know what? It wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The Rose Garden wasn’t going to let the Blazers lose this game. Brandon Roy wasn’t going to let the Blazers lose this game. Marcus Camby, knocking down mid-range J’s from 22 feet (where he’s a 47% shooter by the way) wasn’t going to let the Blazers lose this game. And LaMarcus Aldridge more than anyone wasn’t going to let the Blazers lose this game.

While Amar’e Stoudemire was working inside (26 points, 8-10 FTs), Aldridge was the scoring option the Blazers desperately needed. 31 points, and deadly from mid-range. And make no mistake, he wanted it defensively as well. 11 boards, often in traffic.

There was no great adjustment made by the Blazers, the Suns just struggled, Jason Richardson fell back to Earth and missed a lot of open looks, while Steve Nash had six turnovers, including two late (one leading to the Batum flagrant). Versus the first Blazers win, this wasn’t a matchup or strategy win, this was one fed on energy and willpower. The Blazers were fierce all over, led by their general back on the floor. And when Roy nailed a jumper late to push the lead back up to multiple possessions, it felt like something legendary, even Willis-Reed-esque.

(It should be noted that Roy’s injury was not that severe, that surgery was not that invasive, and that essentially he just came back a week earlier with doctor’s clearance. Dramatic, but not really Reed-esque. But still a great story.)

The Suns suddenly have gone from looking like they were in complete control of this series to facing a must-win in Phoenix in Game 5. A loss puts them at the brink of elimination going back to the Rose Garden. And the Suns don’t have anyone coming back from injury to get them a boost. They’re just going to have to execute and find a way.

Otherwise, Roy’s return will just be a warmup for Round 2.

  1. Randall - Apr 25, 2010 at 4:36 AM

    Maybe Portland will see the 2nd round after all, though they’ll need more than a little BRoy to get there.

  2. Vance McFarland - Apr 25, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    Go Blazers–Lived there when Bill Walton-Maurice Lucas led the Championship–time for a new one for the Rose Garden! Lakers beatdown by Thunder (Sonics)–Pac NW Blazers Reign!

  3. Phillip Fisher - Apr 25, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I’m a Blazer fan all the way-but this would be very hard for the
    Blazer’s to win this series-there playing there hearts out-if we
    could just keep everyone well next year we could do some real harm
    and move up and to think we tool Oden over Durant and bad move-
    Blazers must be Jinked this way, anyway hope for the best.
    “Go Blazers”.

  4. Bluce - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I like nike blazer shoes,it is so nice and comfortable. Share with you a nice nike blazers shoes info sincerly.

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