Listen. LISTEN. Everything is going to be OK.
Before Game 3, I said this, via Twitter: “Prediction: Brandon Roy tonight = last five minutes of The Wrestler.” I was premature, but my point stands: this was going to happen. Roy was going to go until his heart exploded — so to speak — at one of those home games. He just was. If you follow the NBA, you know that, oftentimes, the league is the closest cousin to professional wrestling among legitimate sports. I’m not talking about the officiating (not right now, at least). I’m talking about story lines.
As soon as it was reported that Roy almost cried during Game 2, when he played a handful of minutes and wasn’t even the first guard off the Portland bench, I knew that something like Game 4 was coming. Maybe not that quarter, exactly, but something very much like it. Some heroic time-warp moment wherein Roy — the former All-Star, the former face of the franchise, the former owner of any usable cartilage in his old-man knees — would leave aside injury and hurt feelings and conventional wisdom and everything else. He would remind everyone — for a few possessions, for a quarter, for a half — of all that he used to be and would rarely be again. And he did, finishing his run with an emotional, tear-stained interview on the court. This was always going to happen.
The NBA works like this. They make more sports movies about baseball and baseball players doing this kind of thing, but it happens in basketball more than any other sport. But listen: the series isn’t over. It’s tied. Is Brandon Roy going to do this again? I doubt it. There might be a slight return in Game 6, when he’s back in Portland and his knees are full of adrenaline and pride, but look at Roy’s season. He’s averaged 9.5 points since December. This was a Steve Kerr game. Not a Dwyane Wade series. Don’t get it twisted.