Trail Blazers @ Suns: Round 1, Game 5 Preview
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/26/2010 11:34 AM

     
    A best of seven series now turns into the best of three as the two teams are all knotted up at two games apiece after Roy's Willis Reed/Kevin Duckworth incredible return to action propelled the Trail Blazers to a 96-87 Game 4 victory. After stunning the Suns in Game 1, Phoenix threw the first wrench into the equation by putting Grant Hill on Andre Miller and having him pick up Dre a full 94 feet at every possible chance. It wasn't until Game 4 that Portland was able to make an adjustment of their own, which was to trap and double Nash as much as possible. It worked as he had just 15 points, 8 assists, and a game-high 6 turnovers. Does Phoenix have an answer for the suffocating defense on Nash or on Roy's reemergence back onto the court or does Portland have another trick up their sleeve for the Suns?

    Nothing is more important to the Trail Blazers tonight than getting off to a good start. In their two losses, it was evident early it was going to take a miracle for them to pull out a win. When they won Games 1 and 4, it was a one point game either way. The addition of Bayless to the starting lineup should solve this issue as he is another ball handler out on the court who can get to the rim and create for others and actually take advantage of Steve Nash defending him, unlike Rudy who plays most of his game outside on the perimeter, allowing for the defensive strategy of the Suns to suffocate Miller with Hill. What I like about Brandon coming off of the bench for the time being is that its a win-win situation. If we get off to a sluggish start, a much more reliable Roy will be there to help bail us out instead of seeing their lead increase or if we hold a lead once he comes in, the chances of us extending the lead go up with our All-Star checking into the game. If the Blazers can keep it at least within four points after the first period, then they should feel good about themselves weathering the opening storm.

    Assists and fast-break points will be the deciding factors in whomever wins tonight's Game 5. The potent suns offensive attack is based upon these two key statistical categories, essentially acting as the fuel for their high-octane offense. Although you always want to stop a team from getting easy baskets, the importance is greater against a team of Phoenix's caliber. If their shooters see the ball go in, it raises their confidence and puts them in a rhythm Portland doesn't want to see them in; games 2 and 3 were enough for everyone's liking. There's no secret the Blazers won their two games by holding the Suns to a combined eight fast-break points. They must force Phoenix into playing their slow, grind-it-out tempo and attack them at every opportunity. Getting to the foul line should be priority #1, because not only does it negate the run game but helps the 3rd leading free throw shooting team get easy points of their own. Finally, win the assist battle. Phoenix is nothing without Nash driving and dishing to his teammates for open looks. Outside of Amare, no Suns player can get his own shot off via isolation. I would continue to throw multiple defenders at Nash and make someone else beat us. On the flip side, by racking up more dimes than the opposition, it means the Blazers are playing good, team basketball and making Phoenix work on the defensive end of the floor, taking away some of their energy on offense. Win these two categories and you win the game Portland.

    Trail Blazer shooters be ready, because Brandon's back and he's going to find you. We all saw how many times he found Aldridge open for his patent 18 foot jump shot simply by drawing multiple defenders to him. Although he still isn't 100%, the Roy dynamic is yet another wrinkle in this series and if Roy continues to find open men off of dribble penetration, we must knock them down, otherwise our offense is going to burn out. If such a scenario occurs, they'll simply take Roy out of the game if Bayless, Batum, Webster, and LaMarcus don't make Phoenix pay. By hitting a few from the outside, not only will it spring Roy loose a bit but the paint begins to thin out as the Suns defenders can no longer pack it in tight and sag off the shooters. If Portland can shoot around 46-48% from the floor tonight, they shouldn't be surprised if they find themselves up 3-2 heading back home to the Rose City.

    If Portland is able to win this series, it must be done tonight. I don't think you want to take your chances winning a Game 7 on the road as the odds are stacked too high against you. Unfortunately, Portland isn't going to be heading home to the Rose City holding a 3-2 series lead. I believe Phoenix will make an adjustment to Roy being back in the lineup and our trapping of Nash. They just have so many weapons on offense that one is bound and determined to get hot. Also, with the series being so chippy, look for one of our key players on defense (Batum, Camby, or Aldridge) getting into foul trouble and Phoenix exploiting it. I'd love to be proven wrong, especially considering this is my birthday, but Phoenix is the 3 seed for a reason and will protect home court tonight behind a monster performance from STAT.

    Round 1, Game 5 Prediction: Trail Blazers 96 Suns 101
    Game 5 Preview
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  1. rmontee6175
    rmontee6175
    Posts: 26

    Posted 04/26/2010 12:15 PM

    I agree with basically everything you said about the game five stats. The only point I think needs to also be brought into the equation is the record of Portland in Phoenix. In the two games, we had one where the Blazer intensity was off the charts and then one where it seemed a little overconfidence crept into our locker room. I think you are right about the first quarter being the basic "tell-all". It seems that the game is decided by which team starts getting fouls first. Whichever team it is, the other team seems to feed off of that and dominate. Hopefully Nate is talking to them about fouls and intensity. Either way, I am sure that it is going to be a great game.
    GO BLAZERS - WE WILL SEE YOU AT HOME SOON !!!!!
    I am a fan of Being a part of the best fans in the league.
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 04/26/2010 12:24 PM

    If the Spurs can take a 3-1 series lead on the #2 seed Mavs anything is possible. The addition of Roy to this series calls for the suns to make some kind of adjustment how fast they make that adjustment remains to be seen. I like Roy coming off the bench right now, and possibly using him to get a spark or to exploit some match-up. I fully expect the Suns to come out fired up and ready for a down and dirty game and trying to get into the heads of our players. Blazers should come out with a game 7 attitude: win or go home. And show that they really can step on a teams throat and close them out.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. Kim~
    Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 04/26/2010 12:32 PM

    As much as I am enjoying Dallas losing, I don't give as much credit to the Spurs, as I do that Dallas ALWAYS CHOKES in the playoffs   he he he :)

     Get the win tonight, and close it out at home.

    Let's Go Blazers !!!!
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. levim
    levim
    Posts: 11

    Posted 04/26/2010 12:45 PM

    Posted By BR7_Fan on 04/26/2010 12:24 PM
    If the Spurs can take a 3-1 series lead on the #2 seed Mavs anything is possible. The addition of Roy to this series calls for the suns to make some kind of adjustment how fast they make that adjustment remains to be seen. I like Roy coming off the bench right now, and possibly using him to get a spark or to exploit some match-up. I fully expect the Suns to come out fired up and ready for a down and dirty game and trying to get into the heads of our players. Blazers should come out with a game 7 attitude: win or go home. And show that they really can step on a teams throat and close them out.

    Amen, I think this is gonna be a real nail biter. Defense is gonna dictate who wins this game. LET'S GO BLAZERS!
    I am a fan of How do I catch all the games on the East Coast???
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/26/2010 1:14 PM

    I really hope we play like its an elimination game, because you KNOW Phoenix wants no part of a Game 6 in the Rose City down 3-2. We must match or exceed their energy and hustle and take it to them. We've already won in their gym twice, so that gives me hope we can do it again but on the other hand, how many times can we realistically win in a place we have historically not fared well in?
    I am a fan of
  1. rmontee6175
    rmontee6175
    Posts: 26

    Posted 04/26/2010 5:25 PM

    One thing to keep in mind, when you are asking the question about how many times can we win in a place we have historically not fared well in? Well, this team is very different than the Blazers of the past. The last time I remember the team coming together and actually playing together was 1992 I believe. I honestly believe that the Blazers have a good chance of taking this game. I keep thinking that even though Phoenix is not wanting to look to Portland for game 6 and elimination. I have been looking at thier sites and fan comments. It seems to me that there is almost a sigh of relief. It is weird but it feels like the fans there are looking at this game as just get it over with. They seem content to take it to game 7 and move on. It is like they are just overlooking this game and concentrating on game 6 in Portland.
    I really hope that I am correct about this feeling because if it is true at all, it will be the biggest mistake Phoenix could make. The Trailblazers are what I would consider a "SLEEPER" in the NBA - We quietly win games, nobody gives us a lot of credit and then people are surprised when we are winning playoff games.
    NOTE TO NBA--- THE PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS HAVE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG !!! WE ARE NOT GOING TO JUST GO AWAY AND WE WILL NEVER BACK DOWN. WE WILL FIGHT UNTIL THAT LAST BUZZER SOUNDS!!
    I am a fan of Being a part of the best fans in the league.
  1. buddy6713
    buddy6713
    Posts: 4

    Posted 04/26/2010 5:35 PM

    I hope you're right but I think that unless we do a much better job of contesting open shots we'll lose this game and lose it large.  The Suns missed the shots they made in games 2 and 3, or that's how it appeared to me.  Roy helps our offense, obviously, taking off some of the double team pressure on Aldridge and Miller, but he'll be tested hard before the Suns give him preferred treatment again.

    What I think will happen is that the Blazers will play more inspired with Roy's own personal amazing effort rubbing off on everyone else.  That's what will make this a close game unless we continue to offer uncontested 18 foot jump shots.  That will only work if we control the tempo and hope they shoot under 50%.
    I am a fan of solid x's, o's and matchup coaching
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