Trail Blazers @ Suns: Round 1, Game 1 Preview
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/17/2010 3:34 PM

     
    After six grueling months of regular season basketball, countless injuries, and up and downs, the playoffs are finally here! Like '09, Portland's opponent wasn't known until the last day of the season, but for one of the only times during this season from hell, the Trail Blazers got a little bit of luck by drawing a team they match up extremely well with, the Phoenix Suns. Although the Suns obtained the West's best record post All-Star break, 23-6, Portland has taken two of three from Phoenix, including a 108-101 win in the dessert without Roy on February 10th. Without Roy being the key term, the Trail Blazers will be without their leader, superstar, and best player for at least the first round after having successful surgery to repair his torn meniscus. But Phoenix has injury problems of their own. Absent has been Robin Lopez, their starting center and only defensive minded player, who has been sidelined since March 26th due to bulging discs in his lower back.

    The key to the entire series is bench play. As Rudy Fernandez moves into the starting lineup for Game 1, a weak performing Blazer bench, gets even weaker. Not only does Portland have to face the hottest team, Phoenix, and the hottest player, Amare, but they have to deal with one of the top benches in the league. Jared Dudley is 4th in the league in three-point percentage, 45.8%, Channing Frye's 172 three point makes are good enough for 4th most in the league, and Goran Dragic is playing his best basketball of his young career, averaging 9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 20.1 minutes per night during April's seven games. While the Phoenix reserves are peaking, Portland's are just now trying to find their niche. Webster had a clutch performance in L.A. last Sunday and is netting a little over 14 points in the three games since Roy has been out. Lets not forget he did lead the NBA in 3's made during January when he saw starter's minutes due to Roy's hamstring. But, I think flying under the radar is the fact this is Webster's first ever playoffs, as he was out all of last year with the stress fracture. Marty won't be alone either, because Dante is experiencing it for the first time and Bayless might as well be too after only seeing 2 minutes during last year's series with Houston. Both starting fives match up very well and all the Portland bench has to do is survive their shifts, giving the starters just enough rest for them to take control of the game later on.

    Inside, the interior, the paint. Whatever you call it, that is where Portland must take this series by the reigns and assert their dominance. As big a loss as Roy is, I'd argue losing Robin Lopez is nearly as big for Phoenix. He is their rebounder, their energy, and only player who puts defense first. Phoenix loses skill when Jarron Collins starts and toughness when Frye checks into the game. Yes, Amare should win the MVP for the second half of the season, but outside of Dwight Howard, I couldn't think of two guys I'd rather have than Aldridge and Camby to throw at STAT for an entire series. In the only match between the duo of Marcus and LaMarcus versus Amare, STAT was held in check to 18 points an 14 rebounds compared to his April averages of 26.4 points and 9.3 rebounds. Two things Blazer big men must do to slow down Stoudemire is to limit his momentum boosting facial dunks out of the triple threat position which ignite him and force him to work on defense, because it's widely known he doesn't take as much pride on that side of the ball. In their first full game without Roy, the Trail Blazers filled out the blue-print on how to win by scoring a season-high 60 points in the paint on another small team, the Thunder.

    Game 1 sets the tone for the entire series. Does Portland get stage fright and bullied around as they did against Houston or do they follow their veteran's footsteps and become the aggressors? The arena is going to be loud, hostile, and ramped up, but through smart play, playing under control and with poise, Portland can weather it by putting the game at their pace. Andre needs to have the ball in his hands at all times and either decide to take Nash off the dribble or on the blocks and work the offense around what Phoenix gives you. Phoenix will let you score, there's no denying that, but Portland needs to force the action inside, have crisp ball movement, and players always on the go. The series is a four-game sweep if we try and get into a jump shooting contest or a run and gun race with these guys. These are the playoffs and half-court basketball prevails; slow the game down, work the shot clock, and find the open man. The more you make Phoenix work on defense, the less energy they'll have to exude on offense. To win, the Trail Blazers must get to the line 7-10 more times, commit under 10 turnovers, and dominate the glass. If there's a game to catch the Suns napping, it's this one. Role player of the game will go to Marty. He performs when he knows the team is counting on him. Look for at least three 3 pointers and 15 points from Marty Party. Andre's steady play and Aldridge's offensive repertoire will lead the way for Portland on offense, Batum and Camby on defense, to a very close Blazer victory.

    Round 1, Game 1 Prediction: Trail Blazers 105 Suns 103
    Trail Blazers Round 1, Game 1 Preview
    I am a fan of
  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 04/17/2010 4:18 PM

    I actually think Game 1 could be the biggest point differential of the series, because PHX is still rolling and Portland still isn't quite used to being without Roy. Don't get discouraged if we get taken to the woodshed. It is just going to take time for our bench to match theirs. Tomorrow night, I think Frye and Dudley will win it for them.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 04/17/2010 6:31 PM

    I want to see an agressive Portland team come out and set the tone early and pound the ball in the paint. I think the veterans won't let the youngers get scared (Howard, Camby, and Miller will keep the guys focused). I think looking at the benches is where Portland might lose some ground, PHX role players are more defined and give solid production if Frye or Dudley go off were probably in trouble like Clyde mentioned above. It's a dice roll who's gonna have the hot hand of the bench we could roll snakes or boxcars. Nervous and excited for tomorrow.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. daddylogan
    daddylogan
    Posts: 188

    Posted 04/17/2010 7:34 PM

    My question to all of you is...is your viewing area properly decorated yet? Mine is...



    peace out,
    daddy
    I am a fan of THE LITTLE GIANT...DAMIAN LILLARD!!!
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/17/2010 11:56 PM

    Nice Daddy! Got everything ready for tomorrow. Looks like all the underdogs were held in check quite easily on Saturday. What worries me is the lack of a superstar to lean on in trying times. After Smith hit those 3's, Anthony put the stake in the Jazz heart and finished them. We have 5 guys who can play as one, but it is hard to get equal contributions on a nightly basis. Hopefully Aldridge answers the bell and plays like a great #1 option, because there is going to be tough times tomorrow and we'll need someone to help stop the bleeding.
    I am a fan of
  1. daddylogan
    daddylogan
    Posts: 188

    Posted 04/18/2010 9:44 AM

    Yep DHawes...I watched em all too and alot of thoughts did cross my mind as well. LA will be our #1 option, at least to start the game and I am sure Dre will be looking for his shot. I however think the key to having successful offence is with getting Batum and Camby involved in some plays...and I mean actual plays ran FOR THEM. They are both proven offensive powerhouses when they get a chance and it would definatley throw off the scouting reports on the Blazers! (maybe Nate should call Ramsey about the 5 option offence??? LOL)

    Anyhow my friend, have fun today wherever you watch the game from and let us cross our fingers that it is the Suns who are going to learn a lesson today :-)

    peace out,
    daddy
    I am a fan of THE LITTLE GIANT...DAMIAN LILLARD!!!
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 04/18/2010 10:38 AM

    That Nuggets/Jazz game was a all out war till the 4th quarter. Thats how you finish a team off! Hope Blazer fans enjoy the game today wherever you may be!
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. Kim~
    Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 04/18/2010 12:00 PM

    No Fear !!

    Let's Go Blazers !!!!
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/18/2010 4:18 PM

    I love that we are the last game..no upsets so far, means ones bound to happen!
    I am a fan of
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 04/18/2010 4:50 PM

    Posted By DHawes22 on 04/18/2010 4:18 PM
    I love that we are the last game..no upsets so far, means ones bound to happen!

    Like the way your thinking buddy! :-D
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 04/18/2010 4:58 PM

    For once, I'd like to see us come out and punch PHX in the mouth and see how they react. Will they fight back or will they cripple into the fetal position? We get game 1 or game 2 and all of a sudden, their confidence is rattled.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. perfundo93
    perfundo93
    Posts: 2

    Posted 04/18/2010 6:02 PM

    PORTLAND, WIN OR LOST  I WILL LOVE YOU, BUT WE WILL WIN, WE CAN DO IT !!!!  JUST STROG PLAY TONIGHT !!!!!!!!  :))
    I am a fan of Brandon Roy !!!
  1. perfundo93
    perfundo93
    Posts: 2

    Posted 04/18/2010 6:03 PM

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE POOORTLAAAANDDDDDDDDDD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am a fan of Brandon Roy !!!
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