Unless you knew that Randy Foye likes to save the best for last, you might have had the wrong first impression.
The Timberwolves' game Sunday was the latest chance for second-guessers to get a first-hand look at two players involved in a draft day trade: Portland shooting guard Brandon Roy and Foye, the Wolves rookie point guard.
Portland and Minnesota exchanged the two last summer, and it appears both teams got what they were looking for. But Sunday, through three quarters, it looked as though Roy would get the better of this skirmish.
He had 16 points while going 7-for-9 on the way to 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting.
Foye? He had just two points until the final seconds of the third quarter, when he drove into the lane and put a shot off the glass to send the game into the fourth quarter tied.
He was just getting warmed up. As a key part of coach Randy Wittman's small lineup, Foye ran the pick-and-roll perfectly with Kevin Garnett over the final 12 minutes, hitting five of six shots and scoring 13 of his 17 points down the stretch.
Foye has scored 319 of his 646 points in the fourth quarter. He has shot 47.9 percent in the fourth, and 90.3 percent on free throws, and has had seven double-digit fourth quarters. Four of those have come in the Wolves' past nine games.
Wittman has become convinced that, at this point in his young career, Foye is better coming off the bench, which is why he made the switch back to Mike James as his starter during the recent road trip.
"He knows when he comes in he can attack," Wittman said. "And that's where I want to keep this kid at."
"I think when he comes in off the bench, he has more leeway to come in and be more aggressive than when he's in with [all the starters]," Garnett said.
"When he's out there with me [late in games], I let him off the chain. In Sacramento I let him off the chain. I like to put him in position to be totally aggressive in the pick-and-roll, take advantage of his quickness. He loves to get let off the leash."
As for the Roy-Foye comparisons? Foye said he doesn't pay any attention to that.
"He's in a great situation, and I'm in a great situation," Foye said. "We know we got traded for each other on draft night. We both played well tonight. Luckily, we came out with a win."
Wittman knew rebounding could be a problem. It almost cost the Wolves the game.
Portland outrebounded the Wolves 40-32. That included a 16-8 edge on offensive rebounds, the reason the Blazers were able to score 23 second-chance points.
In the fourth quarter, Portland scored 11 of its 25 points after getting an offensive rebound, including LaMarcus Aldridge's tip-in with 8.4 seconds to play that gave Portland a one-point lead.