SEATTLE (AP) -- Brandon Roy had just taken over his first NBA
game while playing in front of his hometown family, friends and
former college coaches, who were sitting in the third row.
He ran the Portland offense in the second half. He followed
coach Nate McMillan's halftime demand to shoot more off the
countless screens that the Trail Blazers kept setting for the
former Washington All-American. He made 10 of 16 shots in a
dazzling NBA debut.
So what did his new teammates give Roy after his 20 points and
Zach Randolph's 30 -- including six straight to erase a nine-point
deficit -- allowed Portland to beat the Seattle SuperSonics 110-106
Wednesday night and end the Blazers' 16-game losing streak?
"C'mon Rook! Let's go! Shower!" Roy's veteran mates bellowed
as Roy beamed and basked in his night -- while still in full uniform
almost 30 minutes after his coming-out party ended.
"I'll remember this forever," Roy said. "Not only to play
well, but to win the game. It was an incredible feeling."
Randolph's instant assessment?
"All-Star," he said, meaning now instead of perhaps the few
years McMillan had said it may take Roy to get there. "He's my
rookie of the year already. First game."
Randolph's 14-for-15 free throw shooting, Travis Outlaw's free
throw with 18 seconds left -- which gave Portland its first lead
since the second quarter -- and Ime Udoka's rebound of Outlaw's miss
and subsequent foul shots with 16 seconds to go were the decisive
plays that spoiled the 40th and perhaps final season opener for
Roy stole new Sonics owner Clay Bennett's show before a sold-out
crowd. Bennett has said he could move the team if he doesn't have a
commitment by next summer for a new arena in the Seattle area.
Rashard Lewis had 25 points but rushed a 3-point miss late when
the Sonics had the lead and needed to run off some time.
Luke Ridnour added 22 points and 13 assists for Seattle, which
controlled all but two stretches -- early in the second quarter and
the end of the game.
"We didn't manage the clock very well," Sonics coach Bob Hill,
remembering another quick shot from Damien Wilkins.
Roy and Seattle All-Star Ray Allen guarded each other
throughout. Allen was just 3-for-7 shooting in the first half, but
6-for-13 after halftime to finish with 22 points.
But he missed an open 3-pointer off a set play with 5 seconds
left and Seattle down 108-106. Wilkins missed a follow from the
baseline to essentially end it.
Roy scored eight points in the final 3:14 of the third period to
pull Portland within 78-76 entering the fourth. Then his jumper
that beat the shot clock buzzer with just over 2 minutes left
pulled Portland within 101-98, after Seattle had gone back up by 8.
"He is a great player," Lewis said.
Randolph's two free throws tied it at 104 to set up the finish
and a win for the NBA's worst team last season (21-61).
A 16-0 Portland run in the first half erased Seattle's early,
12-point lead and gave the Blazers their only lead before the late
Now is Roy up to doing this 81 more times?
"That's the scary part," Roy said. "Man, you get four more
games before next week."
Mouhamed Sene, Seattle's 20-year-old, first-round draft choice
from Senegal, sprained his right ankle diving for a loose ball in
the third quarter. He hobbled directly to the locker room after not
scoring and getting two rebounds in 12 minutes.
He returned to ride an exercise bike behind the bench but not
play. Hill said Sene could have, but that the Sonics needed more
Sonics F-C Nick Collison confirmed that the contract
extension he agreed to late Tuesday night was for $25 million over
four seasons. He could have been a free agent after this season --
and thought he might be until the Sonics bumped their summer offer
to $25 million following Collison's impressive preseason.
"Basically, me and my family are set for life," Collison said.
... Portland was 6-35 on the road last season, tied with Houston
for the league's worst road record. ... Blazers owner and Microsoft
Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, also owner of the NFL's Seattle
Seahawks, sat four seats to the left of Portland coach Nate
McMillan during the second half.
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