A Daily Babble Production
Brandon Roy is the type of guy you want to build your franchise around. He is unselfish, well-behaved, a natural leader, and as he keeps reminding us, a stone-cold killer in crunch time.
We looked on in awe nearly three weeks ago when Roy scored five points in the final two seconds of the most exciting game of the young season to date, a 101-99 Portland win over Houston courtesy of the third-year guard's 30-foot trey at the buzzer. He has only continued to build his professional resume since then, and, while not quite as exciting as the Houston game, Monday night's fourth-quarter takeover at home against Sacramento proved no exception to Roy's knack for the clutch.
The Blazers waltzed into ARCO Arena last Friday night and hammered their hosts, 117-96. The Kings came to Portland intent on putting up a better fight, and they did just that, forcing the Blazers into a seesaw battle and even taking a six-point lead with less than six minutes to play in the final period.
Alas, the Blazers had Brandon Roy (and the offensive rebounding machines that are Joel Przybilla and LaMarcus Aldridge, but that's another story), and the Kings didn't.
After Sacramento took that six-point lead, Roy took matters into his own hands. It began with the highlight of the game, a spin move from the left wing that took him through three defenders for a bunny that bounced in off the back rim plus the foul. Three-point game. He was at the foul line two possessions later to cut the lead to one. His next bucket - the one that gave the Blazers the lead they wouldn't relinquish - is described in ESPN's play-by-play simply as "Brandon Roy makes driving layup," which is true but doesn't convey the fact that Roy sliced through the purple-shirted defense and then decided in the air to put the ball in his left hand to successfully finish another high degree-of-difficulty drive.
In a span of 93 seconds, the Blazers' captain went on his own 7-0 run and erased the Kings' lead for good. His performance on the next offensive set won't show up anywhere in the box score because the league doesn't officially track hockey assists. But once again, it was Roy who set up an easy basket by forcing the Kings' defense to collapse and dishing inside to Przybilla, who made a wise extra dump pass to Aldridge for an uncontested lay-in.
And that's just it: Roy's powerful play in the fourth quarter last night actually managed to go beyond the fact that he scored nine of his team's 16 points in the quarter on 2-of-2 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line (on a night when his team shot a disappointing 70.8 percent from the charity stripe, no less). This guy seemed to have his fingerprints all over ever Blazers possession. Down the stretch, he became the de facto point guard, with Steve Blake willfully deferring to Roy's penetration abilities and stationing himself on the perimeter as an outside threat. Roy forced the Kings to face-guard him when he didn't have the ball, and he drew constant double teams when he did. No matter what the Kings did, when Roy decided he wanted to get to the rim, he did just that.
Through it all, his body language never changed. Always, there was that cool stride and firm handle on the ball, complete with the sly smile of a guy who seems thrilled to be making a living playing a game (and playing that game really well). When it was all over, Roy had 28 points on 10-for-19 shooting and had helped his team to the right side of a 91-90 final.
This guy just seems to know what he has to do to get the job done.