Roy, Portland blaze past Timberwolves
By Jerry Zgoda
Minneapolis Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS — Portland Trail Blazers star Brandon Roy spotted on television last week a Fox Sports video snippet from the day he was drafted two summers ago, the memory of which caused him to smile again Tuesday night after a 103-96 victory over the Timberwolves at Target Center.
"It was funny to see me in a Minnesota hat, for about 10 minutes," he said. "I don’t really think about it that much, but then I’ll see something like that and it reminds me."
Timberwolves fans might never forget at least four times a year, or whenever they see a Trail Blazers box score such as the one from Tuesday’s game: 27 points, nine assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot from the former University of Washington star, whom the Wolves selected No. 6 overall in the 2006 draft and then traded minutes later to Portland for the rights to No. 7 pick Randy Foye and some of billionaire owner Paul Allen’s cash.
Trailing by four at halftime, by a bucket after three quarters and by five points with six minutes left Tuesday, the Blazers — playing their fourth game in five nights — improved to 3-1 on a five-game road trip that concludes Thursday at Sacramento. They did so — and thus denied the Wolves their first three-game winning streak of the season — with a late 12-2 run in which Roy, a 6-6 shooting guard who plays like a point guard when it matters most, had the ball in his hands and his eyes peeled for the Blazers’ array of shooters.
On Tuesday, Roy and Foye met on the same floor for the first time in three games this season. In a night when Foye delivered a nine-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound game and Al Jefferson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, it still wasn’t enough, mainly because of a player who has won NBA Rookie of the Year and played in an All-Star Game before his 24th birthday.
Roy scored five points and assisted on two other baskets in that 12-2 run, when the Wolves’ shooting touch abandoned them. Jefferson made six of nine shots in the fourth quarter and scored 12 points. His teammates shot 2-for-13 and scored five points combined.
"We had our chances," Wolves coach Randy Wittman said.
Roy’s command of the basketball, and the game, created space for reserve forward James Jones’ two crucial fourth-quarter three-pointers and also allowed Roy to find the cracks for two wonderfully timed drives to the basket.
"They’ve got shooters all the way from 1 to 4 (point guard through power forward) and then they got Big Boy (Joel Przybilla) dunking the ball and blocking shots," Jefferson said. "That makes it tough. When they get (injured No. 1 overall pick Greg) Oden back next year, that’s going to be even worse. Better for them, worse for us."
The Blazers won for the 34th time on Tuesday, two more victories than they had all of last season. The Wolves fell to 14-49. Roy peered far into the future after the game and claimed he saw the Timberwolves.
"Hopefully, this will be the start of a rivalry of our two teams playing for (Northwest) division titles and in the playoffs," Roy said. "I could see that happening. I think they’ve got a lot of good players.
"It’s a unique situation: We’re in the same division and me and Randy Foye will be forever linked together because we were traded for each other. They’ll carry on about that until late in our careers, when nobody will remember who drafted us."
- A magnetic resonance imaging test on Sebastian Telfair’s ankle taken Tuesday was negative, showing it was a sprain suffered Friday at Sacramento. Wittman only said a "little while" when asked when the point guard might return to play again. "It just depends on how it reacts," he said.
- Wolves center Michael Doleac was in uniform after missing games at Sacramento and Los Angeles last weekend while he attended his grandmother’s funeral.
• The two teams play for the final time this season on Saturday in Portland.
BLAZERS 103, WOLVES 96
Webster 4-9 3-4 13, Aldridge 9-16 2-2 20, Przybilla 1-1 1-2 3, Blake 4-8 2-2 11, Roy 9-20 8-9 27, Frye 1-2 0-0 2, Jack 1-8 2-2 4, Jones 3-7 4-5 13, Rodriguez 1-1 0-0 2, Outlaw 4-9 0-0 8. Totals 37-81 22-26 103.
Snyder 2-4 0-0 4, Gomes 5-14 5-5 16, Jefferson 10-21 0-0 20, Foye 4-10 0-0 9, Jaric 5-9 0-0 12, McCants 8-12 0-0 18, Smith 7-9 1-2 15, Brewer 0-4 0-0 0, Richard 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 41-83 8-9 96.
Portland 26 24 27 26 — 103
Minnesota 26 28 25 17 — 96
3-Point Goals — Portland 7-21 (Jones 3-7, Webster 2-7, Blake 1-2, Roy 1-3, Aldridge 0-1, Jack 0-1), Minnesota 6-11 (Jaric 2-3, McCants 2-3, Gomes 1-2, Foye 1-3). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Portland 49 (Przybilla 10), Minnesota 42 (Jefferson 10). Assists — Portland 23 (Roy 9), Minnesota 24 (Foye 8). Total Fouls — Portland 8, Minnesota 19. A — 13,433 (19,443).