Trail Blazers vs Suns Saturday, 12/22/12 AT 07:00PM

Postgame Notes And Quotes: The Streak Extends To Five

  1. Written by: sarahhecht

    Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012    Final Score: Portland 96, Phoenix 93



     “Well, we found a way to win the game. I thought our rebounding in the second half, in the fourth quarter particularly, was very good. We held them to 40 percent shooting in the second half. I thought that gave us some momentum. We were able to play in flow. Obviously, Damian made some big shots down the stretch. I thought defensively is where our defense gave our offense some momentum. I loved the way the game started off. We kind of lost our flow late in the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter and never really gathered it back in the first half, but we were able to do it in the second half.”

    On Hickson/Aldridge
    “JJ Hickson had a great line again. He almost had a double-double in the first quarter. He’s been terrific in doing what we need him to do. It was good to have LaMarcus back obviously. He got off to a good start and was really effective down the stretch as well.”

    On what was said at halftime:
    “The way the game started, it looked easy and it wasn’t. We assumed it was going to be easy and we had to come out the way we started the game but realize it wasn’t as easy as it looked. We came out with an attitude because they had beaten us twice and we hadn’t played well. I think we lost sight of that, so at halftime I said we’ve got to get back to doing that.”

    On defensive stand to end game “I thought it was great recognition by everyone on the court to not give up a three. LA was flying out and everybody, Sasha, was determined not to give up a clean look at a three. I thought that was really good alertness on everybody’s part who was on the court.”

    On defense:
    “It wasn’t a complete game. The second half, I was pleased for the most part. We had some breakdowns, I thought more so in the first half. We adjusted our coverages a little bit. JJ did a terrific job on O’Neal in particular on the block in the second half. Part of defending is rebounding and I thought we rebounded the ball really well.”

    On turnovers:
    “Turnovers are the problem, no question. They were a problem down in Phoenix. They had 20 more shots than we got, which is very unusual but a lot of it was because of our turnovers. I don’t know if they led directly – they only had 9 fast break points – I don’t know if our turnovers led directly to their scoring but it just took away from our momentum at the offensive end.”

    On winning 5 straight:
    “It’s cliché, but in retrospect, I’m really glad we were able to take advantage of the 6 game home stand, especially starting with losing badly to Sacramento and having some injuries through the home stand, and still finding a way. In every game, there was somebody out. Tonight, basically Wes was out. So to find ways to win at home is important, and part of it is doing what you’re supposed to do. It is a five game win streak, but there’s certain expectations of winning at home and playing well at home.

    On another big game, double-double at halftime:
     “It’s just a matter of me playing hard and my teammates and coaching staff having faith in me to play the way I played. We just played good basketball.”

    On 5-game win streak:
    “It means a lot. We started the season off a little rusty, so to speak. We had a couple ups and downs, but I think now we’re finding out niche and finding out the way that we have to play to win basketball games and close out games.”
    On how to maintain success on the road:
    “Play the same way. We have to be our own crowd – it’s not about anybody else but us. We just have to play harder than other teams. We’ve finding out what we have to do to win games and close out games. With that being said, we have to go to Sacramento on a back to back and get a win.”

    On double-double streak
    “I think it’s finally saying that I’m finally being consistent.  That’s something I have struggled with my whole career in the league. I think finally all the hard work is paying off.

    On turnover problems (21 turnovers in the game):
    “Yeah, that was tough. We turned the ball over and it wasn’t anything that they forced. It was careless turnovers. As for the game, I think we shot ourselves in the foot, but we got the win and we’re finally starting to figure out what it takes to win games when they get close.”


    - The Trail Blazers have now defeated the Suns seven consecutive times at the Rose Garden.
    - Portland has won five games in a row for the first time since Feb. 5-16, 2011 (six straight wins).
    - The Trail Blazers’ five-game win streak is tied for the second longest current win streak in the NBA.
    - Portland and Phoenix both entered tonight’s game on four-game winning streaks.
    - Damian Lillard finished with 25 points and seven assists against Phoenix. Lillard now has eight games with at least 20 points and seven assists this season, tied with Stephen Curry for the third most in the NBA, and only trailing LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
    - JJ Hickson recorded his seventh consecutive double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Hickson is the first Trail Blazer to record seven straight double-doubles since Arvydas Sabonis (Nov. 4-17, 1997).
    - Hickson shot 8-of-11 from the floor (72.7%). Entering tonight, Hickson ranked seventh in the NBA in shooting percentage, making 55.7 percent of his shots.
    - Nicolas Batum scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and tallied eight assists. Batum has recorded at least eight assists in three of the past four games after entering the season with a career high of seven.
    - The Trail Blazers are now 10-1 when shooting 45.0 percent or better from the field.
    - Portland outrebounded Phoenix 45-32. The 13-rebound margin is the Trail Blazers’ largest rebounding margin of the season.

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