The Portland Trail Blazers' play that ended the first half of last night's loss to the Washington...


The Portland Trail Blazers' play that ended the first half of last night's loss to the Washington Wizards is just absolutely mesmerizing. I've watched it 15 times or so today. Leading 46-34 with 5.7 seconds left and the ball near midcourt, Portland's best buzzer-beating shooter, Brandon Roy, elects to pass the ball in. Why? Who knows. Maybe he plans to step in and receive a quick return pass, but he doesn't really go through with that kind of motion, so it's hard to say that's the plan. Portland's two shooters on the court -- guards Wesley Matthews and Patty Mills -- are spread way out, standing passively, and make no effort to come to the ball. Roy inbounds to backup center Sean Marks, who is barely an NBA player and certainly not a ballhandler, at the three-point line. Predictably, Marks loses control of the ball, retreating almost all the way to halfcourt. Roy isn't in a position to score but calls for the ball anyway to help bail him out. Even though Roy is both open and right in front of Marks, Marks decides to heave a pass to power forward Dante Cunningham, who is more than 30 feet from the hoop. Cunningham -- a second year forward who has never made a three-pointer in his NBA career and made just one three-pointer total in his four years at Villanova -- receives the pass but isn't particularly open. With the clock running out, he is forced to shot put an effort in the general direction of the basket, which airballs by a country mile. "Well, that didn't go as planned," deadpans broadcaster Mike Barrett, who couldn't have said it better. All in all: middle school level execution and awareness. -- Ben Golliver | | Twitter