This is what they mean by a grind. I am guessing we are going to hear that word a lot in the post game pressers from both teams. But when it comes to the best grinders, on this night it was the Portland Trail Blazers who took Game 1 with their incredible interior defense on Amare Stoudemire. 105-100.
The Blazers defense was keyed early on packing it in the lane and as a result they gave up a lot of wide open three's. Despite the Suns hitting 7 of 15 three's in the first half, it was a strategy that paid off for Portland as the Suns simply weren't able to get any kind of consistent action in the paint. In the second half, the Suns cooled off from down town only going 4 of 17.
When Amare did see single coverage, both Aldridge and Camby used their length to bother him which is not a surprise when you consider they are exactly the types of defenders that have always bothered Amare.
Stoudemire fouled out with under two minutes to go scoring only 18 points on 8 of 19 shooting. He only had three free throw attempts.
The Suns did well on the boards and with turnovers but the Blazers defense was too much.
For the Blazers, it was Miller and Bayless who came up big in the fourth quarter combining for 25 of the Blazers 35 fourth quarter points. They got in the paint, drew
fouls whistles, and finished at the rim.
This one really hurts.
Going down 0-1 is not the way the Suns imagined the series starting. No reason to panic though. Lace 'em again on Tuesday. The Suns certainly know a thing or two about coming back in playoff series. Remember Phoenix was down to both the Clippers and Lakers in 2006 and won those series.
And be sure to visit Blazers Edge to see how the gloating and chest thumping looks
Post Game Audio:
- Nash-Amare post game 041810
- Andre Miller post game 041810
- Gentry post game 041810
- McMillan post game 041810
- Dudley post game 041810
- JRich post game 041810
- Barobsa post game 041810
- Camby post game 041810
- It is mighty orange in here. An Orange Out. An Orange Crush. A Sun rise. A bunch of people wearing free T-shirts
- Great rendition of the National Anthem by Pilgrim's Rest Choir
- Jared Dudley wins the Majerle Hustle award...no real surprise except that for the first time in a long time there was real competition for it. Not like years past when Bo Outlaw or Casey Jacobson were the default winners
- Every home team won Game 1 of the first round..so far
- Blazers win the tip. PANIC
- Great hustle play by JC to dive for that loose ball
- JRich missed his first shot. PANIC!
- Suns start with JRich on Miller and Steve on Rudy
- Suns first offensive possession looked sluggish but Amare hit an open J anyway
- Batum w/ 5 early points. Blazers up 5-2
- Two touch fouls on Suns early. Are they going to continue to call it this tight? They are calling the charge
- Camby = slowest wind up to his shot ever
- Suns looking to get Jarron Collins going in the post...really?
- 7-6 Blazers with 7:25 to go
- Lots of missed shots for Suns. Too many days off. 11-6 Blazers. Frye in for JC
- LMA goes right at Frye and scores in the paint
- Channing getting killed on the defensive end but at least he hit a three. Suns are 2 for 6 from three. Frye w/ both three's. Blazers 1 for 4 from three.
- Both teams seems a bit tight but that's probably just Blazers controlling tempo. Suns hit a couple quick three's so Nate calls TO. Has the feeling of a tight game...
- Dudley in. 3:22 17-14 POR
- Nash for three....go ahead and leave him open some more
- Juwan Howard w/ the turnaround post J
- Nash knows when it's time for him to score. Time for him to score
- JRich with an epic bobble on the fast break
- Looooooooou!! in for Amare
- Bayless w/ a sweet floater
- Nice to see LB hit the open shot! Needed that. He needed it. The game not so much
- 25-24 Blazers. Wasn't pretty but about as expected. Suns doing well on Turnovers (3 to 4) and rebounds (12-13)
- Blazers got easier looks at the rim (20-8 points in the paint) but the Suns hit their three's (4-9) after a cold start
- Suns bench on the floor. All of it - except for Taylor of course, he's behind the bench with Robin in a suit
- Sweet! Goran to Lou alley oop!
- Crazy sequence of offensive rebounds there - mostly b/c Jared tried to through it off someone instead of seeing Dragic
- Great time for the big score board to stop working which causes mass chaos between the refs and scorers table
- Perfect time for LB to show up. Tie game 28 w/ 10min
- Suns bench kicking it again! LB to Lou for the JAM!!!. TO Blzrs Suns up 33-28
- Out of a time out the Suns force a 24 sec violation. Nice
- A good flop by Lou to draw the charge on Juwan
- 33-33 with 6:22. Suns bench holding their own vs Blazers starters. LB tearing it up
- You KNOW JD wants an assist on that air ball! Gentry had his starters get up but pulled them back. 37-33 with 5:25 to go. You gotta love these bench boys!
- Amare and Steve and crew back in...can't let them get too cold. Lou stays on the floor in place of Jarron b/c...well b/c he's Lou and not Jarron
- Jason hasn't found his playoff legs yet...which is a nice way to say it
- Amare with the nice block but JRich bobbles it out of bounds
- Batum on Nash now. Both teams trying anything to stop the other PG. Suns moving ball better and getting more open shots
- Suns up 40-35 with 3:18
- Hill can't hit a shot either
- Suns bench outscoring starters so far 22-18...Amare only 6 points
- Dude came DAMN close to hitting a half court shots to win 77k
- Blazers come back and take lead 44-40 off a 3 from Batum and a put back from Camby
- Blazers close the quarter strong with 9-3 run as LB drains a three to end the half. 44-43 Blazers
- Blazers with 26 to 18 advantage in the paint, 25-22 rebounding but Suns up 14-7 second chance points and tied 7-7 turnovers
- Suns 7 of 15 from three to keep the game close. I don't like it. Suns starters can't get the stops that the bench is getting. I miss Robin
There were two ways to look at the first half. On the one hand the Blazers controlled the tempo, outscored the Suns in the paint 26-18, held Amare to 6 points on 10 shots and had a 44-43 lead. On the Bright Side the Suns bench did it's thing plus plus plus. Lead by Leandro who picked a fine time to regain his form with a team leading 13 points, and the steady play of Dragic, Lou and Dudley the Suns bench kept them in this game.
- Blazers really packing it in on Amare. Not giving him any day light to work. Welcome to the playoffs
- Jason looks fired up
- Suns continue to get and hit open three's. Up 54-52. One has to wonder if at some point the Blazers are going to adjust and stay home on those shooters which will only open things up for Amare
- Collins takes a nice charge on Miller. Nash was on Miller but he really wasn't "on" him that long. Nice help by JC
- Hill backs down Miller and scores in the paint. Nice. More Grant scoring please
- That was an impressive chase down block from Amare but he did get him with the body
- People laughed at me when I said that Camby could give Amare problems...
- Batum on Nash so the Suns go to Hill vs Miller in the paint
- Rudy for three. Hope he doesn't heat up
- Finally, Amare gets an and 1 in the paint. MVP chants for Amare...they weren't loud enough so he missed the FT
- Suns up 60-58 with 5:19 to go
- Amare with another 2 in the paint...Suns starting to work the pick and roll more
- I really like Jason's attitude this quarter...he looks like he wants to win this game
- Nice weak side help from JD
- Tight game...not sure how I feel about this one. Wish I was more confident right now
- LB in and Blzrs answer with Bayless. Suns up 68-66 with 2:30
- Bayless hits. LB misses their first shots
- Webster causing havoc in the paint with 2 blocks. LB with a block at the other end. Love the playoffs!!
- Now the refs are arguing with each other. What a cluster
- Suns go to Frye in the paint for a hook shot to end the quarter. I know, right? But it worked.
- Suns up 72-70. Word of the night - GRIND
- Comes down to this quarter...gonna be a good one, I think. Can't imagine the Suns bench can get that separation again...can they?
- Bayless getting into the paint and finishing like the speedy little bastard we thought he was
- Suns down 75-74 with 10:13
- If you are not nervous right now you are...something
- Amare with a couple of Bully Ball rebounds - JD hits a wide open 3
- Still nervous but less so
- If they are going to call those touch fouls when Bayless drives, Goran needs to do the same thing b/c he can get into the paint just as well as Bayless can
- 79-77, 9:05
- Great defensive effort by the Suns. Crowd goes nuts!!!
- Turnover Blazers...gonna give that one to the fans for causing the botched pass
- 81-77, 7:53
- Great playoff energy from the crowd here when it matters most
- Miller with two powerful drives into the lane to tie the game at 81
- Dragic with two...nice screen from Amare
- Bayless drive and kick to an open Batum, misses but Miller gets the rebound and foul
- Miller with another big hoop
- 83-83, 6 min
- Dragic got away with a travel but still a nice finish
- The guards are taking over this game
- 87-85, 4:40
- Miller with a clutch three
- Nash might have to go Super Canada to win this one
- and Nash makes me look smart by hitting a J
- 90-89, Suns 3:37
- Wow...a couple of really tough calls
- Suns miss two wide open three's - Nash and JRich. Ouch
- 92-89 Blazers, 3 min to go
- Nervous yet? Me too
- Suns doing well on rebounds and turnovers but Blazers playing better defense in the paint
- Aldridge flies in for a HUGE put back
- Nash answers with a three!
- 94-92, Blzrs 2 min
- Batum for three. Shit!!!
- 97-92, Blazers
- They just stuffing Amare in the paint...got stripped that time by LMA. Ouch
- 99-92 Blzrs. 1:30
- Amare fouls out with 18 points on 8 of 19 shooting and only 3 FTA's
- Camby missed the dunk!
- Damn! That three would have been huge! Oh JD....
- 100-95, 36 sec. Enough time? Maybe
- Bayless misses both!
- Nooooo! Damn, I thought that was going in, Nash