Limits? What limits? Roy delivers a Blazers win
PORTLAND —First, the Blazers welcomed a former All-Star.
Then, a former All-Star welcomed himself back.
One day after being traded to Portland from the Bobcats, Gerald Wallace watched from the Blazers bench as he waits to be cleared to play.
And how did Portland treat its new guest?
It entertained him.
It showed him this was the party to be at.
And in a 107-106 overtime win over Denver, it picked a heck of a player to host the shindig.
Brandon Roy had missed 30 consecutive games due to knee problems before returning in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Lakers. He scored just five points that night while adhering to his 15-minute restriction.
Friday, there was no minute limit. And at times — Roy seemed limitless.
Giving a performance perhaps not even he thought he was capable of these days, the three-time All-Star finished with 18 points while going 7 of 14 from the field. And of the 24 minutes he played, none was more significant than the final one of regulation.
After drilling a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter to cut the Blazers’ deficit to three points, Roy got the ball with five seconds remaining, threw up a double-pump prayer from beyond the arc and buried it. May have been the loudest the Rose Garden has boomed all season.
Just like old times?
“Every time I make one it always feel like the first time,” Roy said. “It felt good. Just going through so much, it’s always good to hit a shot like that.”
The Nuggets’ Raymond Felton missed a contested lay-up on the ensuing possession to send the game into overtime.
What followed was anything but boring, but certainly not as climactic as Roy’s heroics. Field goals and free throws from Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez gave the Blazers a one-point lead going into the game’s final possession, in which Denver’s Danilo Gallinari and Aaron Afflalo each missed jumpers en route to Portland’s win.
Aldridge finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for Portland (33-25), which nailed three 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation. Andre Miller and Fernandez each contributed 18 points; Miller adding nine assists and a season-high nine rebounds.
But there was no debate as to who the prom king was Friday.
Aldridge said that, more than anything, he was happy for Roy considering all he’s been through over the past few months. But he also knew that the team was going to need him Friday given how just nine Blazers were ready to play.
There may have technically been a 15-minute limit placed on Roy’s court time, but to Aldridge, that was nothing more than a concept.
“You can ask him, I told him tonight that we couldn’t follow that instruction,” Aldridge said. “We didn’t have enough players for him to do that.”
Roy said later that as a competitor, he wants to take the last shot — that he wanted to do so against the Lakers Wednesday, but has faith in any teammate that’s put in that position instead. He also said that he told Blazers coach Nate McMillan that he couldn’t be taken out of the game to start overtime, but McMillan warns that Friday was the exception, not the rule.
“We’ve got to keep his minutes under 15, we’ve really got to follow that,” McMillan said. “Tonight was really different in the sense that only having nine guys.”
Roy added that when he threw his hands up after shooting the game-tying 3-pointer, it was as if to say “where’s the foul?”
“But then in went in and I was like ‘never mind’.”
Gallinari led the Nuggets (34-26) with 30 points.
The loss was the Nuggets first since trading away Carmelo Anthony.
The Blazers next play Atlanta on Sunday at the Rose Garden.
Roy may have had the biggest shot of the night, but at halftime, 23-year-old James Collier nailed a one-handed shot from half court to win a Toyota Tundra. The Portland resident became the first fan to make a half-court shot since the 2006-2007 season.