Brandon Roy missed 14 straight shots against the Washington Wizards before he made the one that mattered most. Roy rebounded from his a cold spell to hit a 22-foot jumper with 0.9 seconds left that gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 76-74 victory Friday night.
The Wizards thought about throwing the early double team at him but the seemed undecided about whether it would be OK to leave Martell Webster open on the sideline to do so. They ended up not acting soon enough. Brandon took it to the three-point arc to the left of the lane. He stopped, faked, spun (in what may have been a travel), ducked under, and rose for a jumper just inside the arc which went through with half a second remaining. Washington couldn't get the ball in cleanly and the Blazers won by two.
In the locker room afterward, several Wizards players contended that Roy traveled on the play. Singleton said he thought Roy took steps after establishing a different pivot. Foye said he thought Roy "shuffled his feet." But if the referee didn't call it, then the Wizards had to deal with the consequences. And Foye had to deal with being showed up by Roy again. This wasn't the first time Roy came out ahead in a duel with Foye. When Minnesota and Portland met in a game last March, Roy had made the decisive points as the Trail Blazers defeated the Timberwolves 95-93. The loss was made worse when Foye's potential game-winning three-pointer hit the back of the rim. Foye didn't have the opportunity to hit attempt a game-winning shot or a game-tying shot as Marcus Camby batted away Shaun Livingston's inbounds pass to Blatche as time expired.
Blatche let his frustrations show in the third period, when he attempted to break through a double-team from Aldridge and Batum by dipping his shoulder to create some space. He was called for an offensive foul and complained to the officials to no avail. "Poor performance. That's no excuse," Blatche said of his ankle. The Trail Blazers "just sent both of their bigs. Once I got past one, another one was there. Seems like they had me boxed in the whole night."
The losing streak, the Wizards longest since 1995, does not reflect the team’s effort. The Wizards struggled against the Trail Blazers defensive pressure on the perimeter and could not find any flow on offense, but stayed competitive with defensive pressure of their own. The Blazers, who were led in scoring by LaMarcus Aldridge with 19 points and 12 rebounds, only shot 32 percent from the field. The Wizards shooting percentage wasn’t much better but with a late surge finished 39 percent from the field with Mike Miller leading the way with 16 points.
Do credit the Wizards, though. Since sending away Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison away, I’ve seen that team fight through a couple of games they had no business being in, even if their talent level ultimately failed them. Of all the Quadruple-A teams the Blazers have had to face, the Wizards at least looked like they were buying into a semblance of a balanced game plan, even if it resembled a high-school coach ordering his team to play keep away with a three-point lead and five minutes left in the game.
There's not a player in the league who is more casually letting his NBA career slip by him than Nick Young. Someone needs to scare this guy straight, for his own good. At Summer League a few years back Young was more concerned with the women in attendance than the games and last year I wrote about his pregame hijinks. This year he was back with that same "Why bother putting real work into my game if I'm not going to play?" attitude that suggests his coaching staff gave up on babysitting him at some point over the last 12 months. I can't blame them. Tonight, when asked to complete a simple dribbling exercise (one ball in each hand, varying the height of the dribble based upon a coach's instruction) Young mostly ignored the instructions as his attention was otherwise occupied with an NCAA tournament being shown on the big screen. As three of his fellow guards worked hard through the drill, Young repeatedly messed up, losing his dribble and smirking at his own remedial failure. As the touch drills progressed, he simply checked out. He hoisted some jumpers and called it good. What a mess. 0 for 2 in 7 minutes. 1 foul, no points. A shame. Made worse by the fact that his snap jumper off the bounce can be a thing of beauty.