Trail Blazes STeal Game 1, 105-100: My Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/19/2010 11:38 AM

     Post-Game Thoughts

    In a game which felt more like a heavyweight fight than a basketball game, both teams throwing what seemed to be knock out punches all throughout the 2nd half, only to see the other counter or retaliate. Neither team had a lead more than nine and the 4th quarter was a seesaw affair. Phoenix would go on a mini run and go up 5, then Portland would strike back. While listening to the post-game show on the ride home, every clip in the 4th I heard Wheels call, I said "Man, that was clutch!" or "Play of the game right there!" Where to even begin? Martell had those two mammoth blocks, Aldridge's running tip in to put Portland up 5, Bayless' countless drives to the bucket, Andre's three ball, corner pocket, and Batum's three moments after Nash had hit one on the other end to push the lead back to 5. Although missing six of eight free throws down the stretch and Camby's oops moment of the decade are not recipes for success, whatever the Suns threw at us, we had an answer.

    To have a puncher's chance, I knew we had to commit 10 or less turnovers, get to the foul line 7-10 more times and dominate the glass. Well, two out of the three isn't bad. Aided by Bayless and Miller's relentlessness, Portland out shot the Suns 31 to 16 at the charity stripe, taking advantage of the fact Robin Lopez is still sidelined, leaving no real imposing force to challenge them once they get to the cup. While everyone was being aggressive, the team played under control and with poise, only coughing it up 10 times, which also helped contain the dangerous Suns fast break to only four points. One area which must improve is defensive rebounding. The total advantage was only +3 for the Suns, 47-44, but they had 17 to our 10 in regards to offensive boards. Outside of Camby's 17 pulls, no one else even sniffed double digits.

    "We had to drive the ball to the basket to get them in the penalty," said Miller, who called the win "big, especially considering....they were probably the hottest team in the league."

    The saying goes, "Defense wins championships" and tonight was further evidence to prove that argument correct. The Suns were held in check to only 41.8% shooting from the floor (38-91), 34.4% from downtown (11-32), and 100 points, 10 points under their season average. Only Nash was able to reach the 20 point mark, dropping 25, and really the only Sun making it happen. If the ball wasn't in his hands, everything was at a stalemate for Phoenix, settling for contested jumpers or eventual turnovers. Most impressive had to do with the lock down on Amare Stoudemire, viewed by most as an unstoppable force heading into the post-season. Normally a 27 and 10 guy, Camby and Aldridge swatted those numbers away, frustrating him constantly throughout the night. In the end, STAT didn't live up to his acronym, netting 18 points (8-18 fg, 2-3 ft), 8 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 3 shots blocked against him, and ending the game early on the bench, fouling out due to the swarming defense of Camby taking him out of his game.

    "Amar'e is as tough as they come," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Camby made him work and didn't give him anything easy."

    "They did a phenomenal job defensively," Stoudemire said.

    For Portland to have continued success throughout the series, the Blazers will need two players at least have huge games outside of our new Big 3 (Aldridge, Camby, Miller). Last night it was Bayless and Batum coming to the rescue, combining for 36 points and Webster doing his own damage on the defensive end, but the Suns bench is deadly, putting up 39 points, putting the pressure on the Blazer reserves on a nightly basis. Taking out Frye's 12 points of production, since Collins plays two minutes per shift, the Suns only outscored the Trail Blazers bench, 27-25, an outcome Blazer coaches and fans will take all day. I expect Martell to keep up the defense, Batum to continue to excel, and Bayless to do his thing in the paint due to the lack of shot blockers Phoenix possesses, but Portland can not win this series unless a certain #5 steps up. Rudy has been yearning for playing time all year long and he is finally getting it, only to perform sub-par. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for the first game, but if he doesn't put up, Webster is ready to get those starter's minutes.

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  1. BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 04/19/2010 11:48 AM

    Game 2 is all about adjustments...see how both teams try to not make the same mistakes while doing what worked for them in Game one. STAT looked very frustrated when he fouled out so I expect him to have a better game tomorrow, will the Suns get to the line more? can Camby and company hold STAT under 20 again? Probably see more JRich on Miller looked like that worked better than getting backed down with Nash on him. Can Bayless get hot and be that spark off the bench or will it be someone else for game 2?
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 04/19/2010 12:23 PM

    Heard on the radio that Amare wanted to catch the ball further from the hoop more next game. My response to this is, be my guest! Shoot all the jumpers your heart desires STAT! He's just afraid to catch it down low by Camby.

    With the PT Jerryd is getting, I expect him to stay hot..Phoenix has no one to contain him and alive did he show come confidence from a young buck! He had only 12 pts all of last year's playoffs, and had 18 in game 1!
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
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