Roy’s last-second game-winner saves the Blazers
PORTLAND — After shooting nothing but blanks, Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy locked in.
With eight seconds left in Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards, Roy isolated himself on the left wing. As a defender closed in, Roy used a pump fake to create space. Then he leaned forward, jumped in the air and softly released the ball.
Roy’s shot hit the back iron of the rim, sprang forward and sailed downward through net.
Roy had another game winner. And the Blazers were saved.
Roy dropped in his 22-foot jump shot with 0.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Portland a 76-74 victory over the Wizards at the Rose Garden before a sellout crowd of 20,592.
Roy said a conversation with assistant coach Kaleb Canales resulted in the decision to use a pump fake to find an opening against Washington’s Alonzo Gee.
The rest was magic.
“It felt good when it left,” Roy said. “But I’m thinking, ‘They all felt good.’ ”
Roy’s final blow was the best — and one of the only — shots he hit all night. The three-time All-Star was 4 of 18 from the floor, and missed 14 consecutive attempts before he pulled Portland from the brink.
“He hit an unbelievable shot,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan.
Roy’s off night captured a lackluster performance by the Blazers (42-28), who shot just 32.1 percent (25 of 78) from the field and set a franchise record for futility in a victory with the mark.
McMillan said missed shots was Portland’s biggest problem. But he acknowledged that the Blazers were out of rhythm following a four-day break since their last game.
“We were lucky tonight,” McMillan said.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Portland, but he was 6 of 17 from the field. Marcus Camby pulled down a game-high 19 boards, yet he was 1-of-6 shooting. And Portland’s other two starters — Nicolas Batum and
Andre Miller — combined to shoot 7 of 22.
Mike Miller scored a team-high 16 points for the Wizards (21-46), who have lost 10 consecutive games.
McMillan said before the start of the contest that he was looking for sharpness and execution from his team.
The assets were hard to find.
It was a messy, uninspired victory for Portland, who showed little of the spark and fight that had made the team one of the hottest in the Western Conference before the break.
“This was something we were trying to avoid,” McMillan said. “We got the game, and hopefully we get that rhythm.”
Nevertheless, Portland has won five consecutive contests and 10 out of its last 12 games. The team is 11-4 since the All-Star break.
The Blazers hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Portland is a half-game behind seventh-place San Antonio, and only 2.5 games separate the Blazers from fourth-place Utah.
Portland led by as many as 16, and the Blazers held a nine-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
But Washington’s Randy Foye scored seven points in the last 2 minutes, 11 seconds. And when he a swished 3 from the top of the key late in the fourth quarter, it gave the Wizards a 70-69 lead.
“Everyone was making plays, hustle plays, to get us back in the game,” Foye said.
Two made free throws by LaMarcus Aldridge tied the contest at 74, though.
Strong defense by Camby and Batum gave Portland a final shot.
And Roy was waiting to deliver.
“Maybe in the past, I would have shied away from it,” Roy said. “Tonight, I just kept telling myself, ‘You’re going to make one.’ ”
Blazers guard Andre Miller played his 600th consecutive game. Miller’s streak is the longest active run in the NBA. … Rudy Fernandez strained his left quadriceps muscle and did not play after the third quarter. … Portland’s 76 points tied a season low. … The Blazers are a season high 14 games over .500. … Portland is 9-1 with a starting lineup of Andre Miller, Roy, Batum, Aldridge and Camby.
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