Prepare to feel old: Brandon Roy hit his infamous 0.8-second buzzer-beater against the Houston Rockets on this day 10 years ago. Like Damian Lillard’s own Rockets buzzer-beater, you likely remember where you were and what you were doing when Roy’s shot tickled the net as the buzzer sounded. Roy is the modern example of Blazers nostalgia, so let’s do some reminiscing on that incredible, improbable shot.
10. The game was actually a bore for the most part
It’s easy to remember this game as some great triumph thanks to Roy’s shot, but it really was a typical early-season matchup — Roy’s heroics were just so good that you forget the rest. It took Portland all of regulation and overtime to even pass 100 points, and the overtime itself wasn’t a great showing from Portland. Rudy Fernandez turned the ball over, LaMarcus Aldridge missed two free throws, and the team was 1-12 from the field before…
9. Roy’s pre-shot shot
With about nine seconds left, Tracy McGrady misses the go-ahead bucket, and Travis Outlaw immediately gets the ball into Roy’s hands on the rebound. Roy takes off with Ron Artest hounding him, eventually stopping on a dime and nailing a sweet turn-around jumper. The whole moment is so beautiful, so natural. And the shot would’ve been an amazing moment on his own, but…
8. Roy takes advantage of Artest’s slip-up
Ron Artest once called Brandon Roy “probably the best player I’ve played against.” So on the lead-up shot, he aggressively marks Roy. He bumps him, determined to not let him have an inch. But as Roy makes his move, Artest and McGrady actually get tangled, giving Roy the separation he needs to get off a clean look.
Who knows what would’ve happened if Artest didn’t get tripped — would Roy have made that same shot? Would he have forced something else? It’s a little moment that leads to a big moment that leads to the ultimate moment.
7. Roy fouling Yao Ming
While this isn’t typically a “best” kind of thing, fouling Yao created the redemption story for Roy. He made the big shot, then made an ill-advised foul and gave the other team the lead. He could’ve given up and taken the loss. But as every great story goes, the adversity is met with perseverance.
6. Roy acting like he didn’t foul Yao Ming
After Roy realizes his mistake of fouling Yao, he immediately puts his hands up in hopes of not getting called for it. I admire the acting:
5. Houston’s excitement after the Yao shot
To put it bluntly, the Houston bench is hyped over the Yao shot. They crowd him like the savior of the game; they’re chest-bumping, they’re high-fiving. They are thrilled to be on their way to a win. Artest even does a little double-leg, double-arm celebration like a kid told he’s getting ice cream for dinner. It’s incredible to see when you know where they’re going to end up in about 0.8 seconds.
4. The Rockets are a defensive mess heading into the 0.8 shot
Amidst all the celebrating, I assume the Rockets weren’t too focused on defending the ensuing possession. I say this because they’re a trainwreck getting prepared. Yao is still revelling in his shot and hastily gets put on Steve Blake, the inbounder, right before he actually inbounds.
Meanwhile Artest and McGrady are absolutely not in sync on who should cover Roy. McGrady points to Artest, Artest points to McGrady, it’s a mess. McGrady ends up starting on Roy, but as soon as he gets beat he points to a turned-away Artest for help, and Roy gets free for, well, you know.
3. The actual shot
I believe this is the most perfect shot, ever. The arc of it is like Roy chucked it up as an offering towards the heavens and the angels thought it was so perfect that this sad world needed the happiness instead, so they let it go in.
What even is 0.8 of a second? Quick things like blinking or snapping seem like they take longer than that. Yet Roy used that time to win a basketball game and provide one of the greatest moments of his, and the Blazers’, legacy.
2. The radio call
“Blake now throws to Roy, Brandon a three-pointer out front … HIT IT, YES HE DIDDDDD. OHHHHHHHH YEAHHH. … The Natural, the Natural buries a 30-footer, at the buzzer. And the Blazers, run off the court, a winner by two!”
Brian Wheeler somehow always finds a way to describe what a Blazer fan is feeling in that exact moment. His radio call of the moment is no exception. You can even hear the wavering in his voice as Roy sets up for the shot; it’s nothing major, but just enough quiver that shows the emotion of a fan watching the deciding moment of a tense game.
"THE NATURAL! THE NATURAL!"— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 6, 2018
Happy 10 year anniversary to Brandon Roy's game winner vs the Rockets pic.twitter.com/4LjqZm6guy
1. The myth-building it’s still part of today
Every Blazer fan knows about the shot. Just a mention of 0.8 is sure to evoke a heavy reaction, from excitement to yearning of a simpler time. The shot has only grown as Roy has faded, a memory not so fleeting anymore thanks to people wanting to make sure he’s remembered for all he did.
The myth of Roy, and especially of that shot, only grows as we fans and we writers continue to revisit it over and over again; it doesn’t even have to be on a major anniversary, it could be an ordinary Tuesday night, and the feeling is all the same watching it over (and over) again. That’s why this shot will stand the test of time. So give it another watch for old time’s sake.