Thursday night hadn’t been a coronation for Brandon Roy. Apparently, it was just a warm-up. His fourth-quarter takeover last night was the real finale, the finishing touch. It was sublime. Portland looked dead. Midway through the third quarter, the Rose Garden was silent and the Blazers were letting the Mavs swipe their dessert. A 3-1 deficit was sitting squarely in front of their faces before Roy stepped out of a season-long swoon and saved the day … The Blazers 84-82 Game 4 win over Dallas was big for a few reasons such as the fact that it tied the series up at two. But, it won’t be remembered for that. It’ll be remembered for the 23-point comeback put together by Portland during the final quarter and a half, one of the greatest comebacks this game has ever seen. The last playoff comeback that big was during the 2008 Finals when the Celtics rallied against the Lakers after trailing by 24 in the second quarter. That was over the long course of a game. But this one came out of nowhere. Dallas dominated the third quarter, and after pushing the lead past 20, we thought it was over. So did everyone else in the building. Portland started 0-15 from the field in the third quarter. Their first field goal didn’t come until LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points) hit a jump hook with just over one minute left in the quarter. But then Portland started to cut into it and in the game’s final few minutes, Roy (24 points) hit a jumper and then had a four-point play to tie it up with a minute left. After Jason Kidd‘s three was way too long, Roy ISO’ed and scored again. When Jason Terry‘s three was off at the buzzer, madness ensued. The whole building was going berserk and on the court, it seemed all of Portland wanted to embrace Roy, who actually was crying this time. One of the best moments of the year … In the game’s final 15 minutes, the Blazers went on a 43-18 run to finish it … Dirk Nowitzki (20 points) and the rest of Dallas must be fuming. They had a 3-1 series lead locked up, and would’ve gone home ready to end it and head to the second round. Now, it’s all very much up in the air as to whether they make it out of the first round at all … John Hollinger tweeted that over the final 12:45 of the game, Roy’s PER was 84.98 … Did everyone really expect Memphis to be this good? They aren’t just winning, as they did 91-88 over San Antonio yesterday to go up 2-1 in their series. They are in complete control, and were up by double figures for much of the game. San Antonio inched closer and up two in the biggest possession of the game, Memphis looked lost. Zach Randolph was standing 25 feet from the hoop and the ball wasn’t moving any closer to the rim. Finally, Z-Bo just had to shoot it…and nailed the biggest shot in franchise history to put the Grizzlies up five with 41.9 seconds left. San Antonio had one last chance after Randolph missed a jumper, but instead of calling a timeout, they raced the ball up the court. Manu Ginobili (23 points) got it and inexplicably brought the ball inside the three-point line and then failed to even get a shot off. It was a colossal failure of late-game execution, even more surprising that it was the Spurs, surprising to see the Spurs taken aback. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich actually had to call a timeout in the first frame and tell his guys to calm down. Why weren’t the Spurs’ veterans doing this? In the first half, Memphis led by as many as 15, battling San Antonio at every step. For the visitors, everything was a struggle. Nothing was easy. Randolph (25 points) and Marc Gasol (17 points, nine rebounds) combined for 24 points and nine rebounds in the first half alone … Tony Parker (16 points, 5-14 from the field) was having issues all game long scoring in transition. Normally, he’s automatic when he gets it in the open court … Memphis could win this series. Still, for all of their toughness and physicality, they act like a young team offensively, turning it over and taking bad shots. There were countless times in the second half where they had opportunities to really seize control of the game and just couldn’t grasp it. You do that against the Spurs, let them hang around, and it ends up killing you. It didn’t in Game 3, but this series is far from over … If you didn’t consider Oklahoma City legit, now you know. Heading up to Denver, already leading the series 2-0, it would’ve been easy to roll over. They didn’t, beating the Nuggets 97-94, grabbing a stranglehold on a series that was supposed to go back and forth. Russell Westbrook (23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) and Kevin Durant (26 points) were big, especially in the fourth quarter. But it was Serge Ibaka (22 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks) who made the difference. J.R. Smith (15 points) made a three to cut the Thunder lead to one in the final minute. Then down three, Denver went to him again. But Smith couldn’t get a clean look at the end, throwing up a wild shot that wasn’t close and then serenading the referees with a profanity-laced tirade. The whole situation begs the question: wasn’t this the same cat who barely played at all in the first two games, and then said he doesn’t think he’ll be here next year? How did the Nuggets go from not playing him to leaving their entire season in his hands? … Denver predictably came out with a ton of energy being down 2-0 at home. After a flurry to end the first quarter with a five-point lead, we figured the Nuggets would really open it up in the second. But they didn’t. Oklahoma City played enough defense and got enough scoring to not only keep it close, but take the lead. They were up seven at the half … We’ve said this before about Ibaka and we will say it again: dude is a future All-Star. He is the perfect third wheel on that team, a player so athletic that he can control the glass and make the game-changing blocks that no one else can. It seems like he is growing game to game; his swag is growing so quickly that he’s even figured out how to get crowds booing him on the road … The Pacers had everything going against them: three straight close losses that had effectively ended their season, a red-hot superstar who was ready for the kill and a crowd that was cheering the Bulls and booing them. But none of it mattered as Indiana held off a late Chicago charge to win 89-84 and stave off elimination. Out of nowhere, they came storming out in Game 4, taking a 14-point lead and then finishing the first half on a huge run. They once again slowed down Derrick Rose (15 points, 10 assists, 6-22 from the field) and flat-out stopped everyone else. The game appeared over until Chicago went on a 13-1 late, highlight by a couple of backcourt steals from Rose to trim the deficit, and then Joakim Noah (21 points, 14 rebounds) scored a three-point play with about 15 seconds left to cut it to one. On their final possession down three, the Bulls found Carlos Boozer (15 points, 13 rebounds) in the corner, who was just short on a three that would’ve tied it … Danny Granger (24 points, 10 rebounds) had another huge game … We’re out like 23-point leads.
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