Roy's Return Sparks Trail Blazers Past Suns 96-87: My Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/25/2010 12:26 PM

    Post-Game Thoughts

    With their backs against the wall and the thought of this being the last game played in the Rose Garden for the 2010 season, the Trail blazers, aided from the emotional boost of their leader, Brandon Roy, returning to action, left everything on the floor and took it to the Suns in every facet of the game, resulting in a 96-87 win to tie the series at 2 apiece. Phoenix looked like they were about to repeat the start of Game 3, hitting numerous long-range shots all the while stifling the Blazers offense, then it happened. Brandon Roy stood up from the bench and proceeded to the scorer's table to check in. In the span of time while Roy was ready to sub in for Batum, the Trail Blazers went on a 9-2 run, including two three-pointers and a Batum dunk to let the Suns know they will be no pushover in this series. Even though Portland missed 13 straight shots to begin the 4th quarter, they never relinquished the lead over the final 12 minutes and were always able to force Phoenix into critical turnovers, keeping them in check to only 15 4th quarter points. Finally, shots that weren't dropping started to see bottom of the net, including two Roy jumpers, bringing back memories of vintage Brandon.

    "We finally got to playing basketball, scrapping," McMillan said. "We matched their intensity and challenged them. We were the aggressors.

    Seeing Brandon Roy on the big screen in the locker room tunnel before the team took the floor and the reaction the crowd gave was worth the price of admission alone. It gave me chills and I'm man enough to admit a tear was close to falling. I was only five when Duckworth came back during Game 7 against the Spurs in 1990 so I only have video to bring back those memories, but being there live and seeing him run out onto the court will be unforgettable. That moment is going to be a staple of any Brandon Roy tribute video when he is one day inducted into the Hall of Fame or inevitably having his jersey retired by the team. Not only did he contribute with 10 points (4-10 fg), but he gave his team a mental boost of confidence as well as the fans. I wasn't too hopeful we could win Game 4, then I saw Roy suiting up and in a instant, knew we had a series on our hands. No longer can PHX throw the kitchen sink at LMA and Dre as well as hide Nash on defense, exposing them at that end of the court.

    "I got chills when he got up and the crowd saw he was going to the scorer's table," McMillan said. "I know our players fed off of that, the emotions and the energy in the building and having him back."

    "As soon as he checked into the game, I got my first shot with nobody guarding me," Aldridge said. "It was like, 'thank God he's back.' "

    You know that missing person's report Portland filed for Aldridge after Game 3? Well, he was found! Stepping up when his team needed him most, Aldridge went toe-to-toe with Amare Stoudemire and had the best playoff game of his young career, scoring a post-season career-high 31 points (11-19 FG, 9-12 FT), grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds, and handing out 3 assists. Whether it was on the block or off of dribble penetration shooting the jumper, he was dialed in, especially late in the 4th when Portland was matching Phoenix bucket for bucket to ensure the lead stayed in our hands. It's no coincidence Portland won the two games this series in which Aldridge played to his talent level and it's also no coincidence LaMarcus got open looks due to the return or Roy. If Portland has any thoughts of upsetting the Suns, they'll need to ride the L-Train. Roy isn't ready physically to carry this team, but Aldridge is. He just needs to continue knocking down the open looks Dre and Brandon will create for him.

    Three categories won this game for the Trail Blazers yesterday afternoon and will continue to be the deciding factors for the eventual winner: fast-break points, assists, second chance points. Just like they did in Game 1, Portland held the Suns to a mere four fast-break points, doing so by getting their butts back in transition defense as well as slowing the game down by attempting 28 free throws, minimizing the opportunities for Phoenix to leak out and push tempo. Phoenix lives and dies by Steve Nash creating shots for the entire team. Portland made an adjustment in Game 4, trapping Nash nearly every time down when he had the ball and forced him to give up the ball or commit one of his 6 turnovers. In the end, the Trail Blazers won the assist battle, 26-17, meaning they forced a lot of isolation play from the Suns as well as using superior teamwork to exploit the weak PHX defense. You can't win a playoff game is you don't show heart and desire and the Blazers showed they didn't want this to be their last home game of the season and destroyed the Suns on second chance points, 15-4. Winning those three statistical categories helped Portland contain the potent Phoenix offensive attack to a season-low 87 points and they'll need to continue to play with that type of defensive effort if they want to advance past the First Round for the first time since 2000.

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