I just always thought I would be treated better," Brandon Roy told The Oregonian on April 19 after he'd scored just two points in Portland's two opening losses in Dallas. Roy underwent midseason surgeries to clean out his painful knees, but the procedures couldn't restore his confidence, and even Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan expressed sympathy after his three-time All-Star admitted he'd fought to hold back tears because of his afterthought role. The Mavs were on the verge of seizing a 3--1 series lead as they ran up a 23-point lead in the third quarter last Saturday in Portland. That's when the 26-year-old Roy reclaimed his standing as franchise star, scoring 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter with a variety of drives and jumpers, including a four-point play to tie the game with 1:06 to go and a runner with 39.2 seconds left to finish off Portland's 84--82 win. Not only did he send the series back to Dallas tied, but Roy proved he and his team have a promising future. "It still just doesn't feel real yet,'' he said afterward. How did he think the Mavericks felt?
GREG NELSON (NOWITZKI)
MIXING IT UP Dirk Nowitzki (left) averaged 28.7 points per game as Dallas took a 2--1 lead, but Game 4 belonged to Roy (7), who scrapped his way to 24 points in 24 minutes.
STEVE DYKES/EPA/LANDOV (ROY)
[See caption above]