Trail Blazers vs Suns Tuesday, 02/19/13 AT 07:00PM

Postgame Notes and Quotes: Suns Shine

02/19/13
  1. Written by: sarahhecht

    Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013       Final Score: SUNS 102, BLAZERS 98

    POSTGAME QUOTES

    HEAD COACH TERRY STOTTS

    “It’s very disappointing with the defense in the first half. Obviously the slow start, getting down 12-0, had a lot to do with the first half. We gave up 63 points in the first half and 60 percent shooting. We can’t afford to do that. The second half, they scored 39 and we did what we have to do, but we can’t afford to come out and let teams execute and do what they want to do.”

    Does this game illustrate value of Matthews?
    “Obviously, Wes is really important to our team defensively and offensively. He competes. Maybe it does. I don’t want to use that as an excuse. Obviously, Wes is a very important part of the team, but I think we showed that we can still compete without him. If he’s not in there, everybody has to step up a little bit.”

    Do you feel like season is slipping away (with losing streak)?
    “No. We have 28 games to go. Nothing is slipping away. We’ve got the Lakers on Friday and we’ve got to go play.”

    On play of Gortat and O’Neal:
    “They’re both very effective. Their rebounding was good. They had a balanced attack. Dragic had a very effective game, particularly in the first quarter. He played well. In general, I thought across the board they played well. Scola did his thing and Gortat and O’Neal did their thing. They had a complete team effort offensively.”

    Did team have the ‘edge’ you were looking for?
    “I thought we came out with good energy. We had 2 or 3 layups that didn’t go in and they made their jump shots, and it kind of deflated us a little bit. The second half, we did. Because of the slow start, we got on our heels and didn’t quite have it for a spell there because of the circumstances of the game at that point.”

    JJ HICKSON

    On losing after bad start:
    “With the team that we have and the position we’re in, we can’t afford to come out to a 12-0 run like that. It kind of got us on our heels in the first half. In the second half, we played way better, but the first half definitely cost us this game.”

    Does team need to be down to fight back?
    “I don’t know what it is. That’s been the story all year. That’s a question that we’ve yet to answer. We definitely had a chance to win it at the end but we came up short. Like I said, the first half definitely cost us.”

    On frustration level- losing streak or losing tonight:
    “It’s tough losing any game. Whether you’ve lost six in a row or you lose one or lose five or lose eleven. It’s tough losing, especially at home. We know this home crowd is definitely our sixth man. It’s tough to come out here and disappoint.”

    “We came out flat. We weren’t really assertive on defense. On the other hand, on the offensive end on our side, we had good looks, we just couldn’t knock down shots. It was a rough start for us.”

    Did two starters playing
    “I wouldn’t say that. It’s a part of the game. Guys have to rest. Even guys that played in the All Star game, they definitely got rest. I wouldn’t use the All Star game as a crutch right now, we just played bad basketball as a team in the first half. The first half, the first quarter definitely cost us the game.”

    Do you feel like season can get away from you?
    “We’re well aware it can get out of hand. We know that every game is important from here on out. We’re trying to make this push to make the playoffs.”

    Did coach stress defense at halftime?
    “Definitely. He definitely stressed defense. We came out in the third quarter more assertive, were playing on our toes and were definitely aggressive coming out in the third.”

    POSTGAME NOTES

    Series history … With Phoenix’s win tonight, the Suns snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Trail Blazers in Portland … It is their first win at the Rose Garden since a 111-98 win on March 18, 2008.

    Monster night … JJ Hickson finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs … Tonight is his third 25-point, 15-rebound game of his career and second this season (Jan. 29 vs. Dallas) … Hickson is one of four NBA players with two games of 25-plus points and 15-plus rebounds this year (Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Zach Randolph).

    Career season … Hickson recorded his 28th double-double of the season tonight … That number ties his career high for double-doubles in a season (2010-11) … Hickson ranks fourth in the NBA this season in double-doubles.

    Sweet shooting … Hickson, after shooting 10-of-14 from the field tonight, has shot 50.0 percent or better from the floor in 17 straight games, a new franchise record for consecutive games of 50.0 percent or better field goal shooting.

    20-point night … LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 23 points, his 29th game this season of 20-plus points … That number ranks ninth in the NBA … Damian Lillard scored 24 points and tallied seven assists … Lillard is 13th in the league this season in games of at least 20 points (26), and is tied for seventh in the NBA in games of at least 20 points and seven assists (12).

    Big quarter … Phoenix scored 36 points in the first quarter, the most points scored by a Portland opponent in the first period this season (34, 4 times; last - at Houston, Feb. 8).

    Career high … Goran Dragic set a career-high with 18 assists tonight.

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