The Phoenix Suns shot 52%, only had 7 turnovers and they pushed the pace and got easy transition baskets, but do you think that's what they were most pleased with?
"I was happiest with our defense. I thought we did a real good job with that. Kudos to Grant. I know there's not another 37 year old guy in the league that can guard Andre Miller that way. Grant did a great job but I thought it was the overall defense that we had, the team defense that we had. Our bigs did a good job stepping out."
Offered Alvin Gentry.
And let's hear what that 37 year old had to say for himself, in between pulls on his oxygen mask and while holding on to his walker:
"After Game 1 we watched taped, we watched defense. As bad as our offense was, we still scored 100 points. We made so many mistakes and had so many break downs on the defensive end that I think collectively our focus was, 'Let's have better energy and let's do a better job on that side of the ball' and we did and things rolled for us on offense as well."
And what about Mr. Max Contract? We said in the Game 2 preview that this was his crucible, that he needed to rise to the occasion. Did he?
Yes, he did and don't be fooled by his "mere" 18 points. Don't forget he only played 30 minutes and who knows what kind of havoc he might have wreaked in the 4th, if needed. But beyond his scoring, it was the other things that were impressive to his mates.
"Amare has improved (his post passing) and he can continue to improve. When he realizes his options passing the ball, that's the ultimate evolution for him when he does become unplayable."
Steve Nash knows a thing or two about passing and he seems to think that Amare's three assists are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can almost picture Nash standing behind the arc watching Amare get double- or triple-teamed and seeing in his head the exact pass Amare should make, but of course, Amare isn't Nash so he rarely sees the same things in his head.
And finally, Coach Gentry on Amare's defense
"I told Amare, I thought it was his best game as far as weak side defense since I've been here. I thought he did a great job rotating over and getting back to his guy."
For all those Jarron Collins haters who think that a guy who's bounced around the league for the last few years without being able to find any playing time and spent this entire season with the Austin Toros is suddenly more qualified to start than Jarron Collins just because he looks decent in a handful of garbage time minutes?
Well, Gentry might just be agreeing with you. I asked Coach if he was happy with what he was getting from Jarron. Note how much time in his answer he talks about Collins.
"Sure. The minutes we play him and everything and I thought that second unit went in and played well. I was happy with Dwayne Jones. I thought he showed a little bit of rebounding and toughness and things like that. That other group, Lou and those guys did a fantastic job."
Does that mean Jones is going to start Game 3 in Jarron's place? Doubt it. It is not the time to experiment and Jarron does what he does without getting in the way.
Do you really want to start messing with Steve and Amare by throwing a new guy out on the floor in a playoff game?
The boys were in a raucous mood after practice. Dan Majerle (the biggest kid of the bunch) grabbed on to Suns PR man DC Headly and started wrestling around with him. Poor DC never had a chance.
Next thing you know, Dragic was tangled up in a play fight with Suns VP David Griffin. Poor Griff didn't stand a chance. Then a few minutes later, I looked over and Lou had Goran in a head lock.
Plenty of boy energy floating around.
To end practice, LB, Goran and Taylor Griffin started doing an old soccer thing of keeping the ball off the ground using feet, knees and head. You would think that Taylor - the Oklahoma kid - would have been totally out of his element. Nope, he has some mad footy skilz. Gentry even gave him crap about it.
Overall, a relaxed and goofy group of Suns players today, as you might expect.
Oh, except Robin. We was on the court taking some mid range Js, some hooks in the lane, a few little layup type things and I think I saw him dunk, but I didn't get a clear view. Needless to say, it is great to see him on the court at all. A positive sign.
Robin, of course, still looks like he's ready to tear the head off a small animal and drink its blood. That guy is all anger, wrapped in frustration and boiled in grumpiness. Oh well, that's Robin. He was happiest this season when he was playing so let's hope we get to see him back on the court at some point before another door (or reporter) needs to be replaced.
But seriously, just as a human kind of thing, you hate to see anyone that angry so often. I hope he finds some kind of peace at some point. All that anger can pull you to the dark side. Right, Anakin?
- Talked about Rudy Fernandez (see here)
- After two playoff games, Goran said he wasn't very aggressive early and didn't feel "right" but was more aggressive in his second stint
- Still getting used to playing with LB? It's different style of game with him injured. I take more shots and make plays but now LB has ball and play pick and roll and I stay in corner. I don't see problem, we just need to find a rhythm and adjust to him and him to me. I think it's going to be fine, we just need a little more time
- Feel better than we did after Game 1. Obviously some good things we did. We anticipate they will make adjustments and come out with a better performance
- Good to get that win and see that we can play our style
- Our mindset as a team was to play defense and have energy
- If we play well and play hard and unselfish and stick to our principles defensively we'll do well
- Although we played poorly in Game 1 we looked at stats and where we rank and we were reminded that we are a good defensive team
- We played a lot better obviously in Game 2. We were more aggressive. We were passive in Game 1
- It's that simple. Obviously, Grant's performance and defense on Andre but we just played harder
- "I felt like I didn't change anything but we got in transition a little more. We got more stops. We got a few more turnovers. It may have presented itself differently but I didn't change my approach."
- We basically played the way we've been playing the last two months, really
- We forced the issue a little offensively and got some easy baskets
- We had to set the tone. They did a good job in the first game setting the tone early and we didn't recover
- We just tried to make it so he (Miller) was going against two guys. Our weak side defense was great. If he had to give the ball up then they were just going to have someone else make the play
- They came and got a split and now somewhere we have to win a game in Portland
- We got to play the same way we did in Game 2
- "It's the same teams. It's a different building but it's the same two teams that are playing."
- It's going to be a battle of wills. In the first game, they did it and in the second game, we did it.
- It will be loud but it's not a decibel meter game. It's the players on the floor that have to decide it.
- We're a good team and we know we're a good team
- It's important for us to maintain spacing and when JRich isn't guarding Miller it frees him up offensively
- It's important for us to get a good start, period. Doesn't matter where you play
- I was most pleased with the defense. That was the thing that the most bothersome from game 1. They got too many layups and our guys did a good job correcting that
- Batum injury? It means nothing to them. They will just plug someone else in there and they will play their butts off
- The way we defended in the second game was more about who we are than the first game. Our bigs and guards did a better job not letting them get straight line drives to the basket
- We changed how we covered the high screen and roll. We were going to allow Camby or even LaMarcus to beat us with jump shots but we weren't going to let them drive to the rim
- We doubled in the post more. Our defense has been really good
- When we don't turn it over, you guys know...
Twitter / Ben Golliver: B Roy: knee is "far ahead ...
B Roy: knee is "far ahead of schedule" but says "I don't want to give anyone expectations" that he'll play in a game 6 or 7 against Suns
Twitter / Ben Golliver: Brandon Roy says he's stil ...
Brandon Roy says he's still day to day... Nicolas Batum asked if he'll play tomorrow, "Me, I think so" and that decision will be made Thurs
Twitter / Ben Golliver: Batum update from Blazers: ...
Batum update from Blazers: MRI confirms right shoulder strain, questionable for Game 3 Thursday
Behind the Box Score, where Kevin wants to be where Kobe is - Ball Don't Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Can anyone translate what Dwyer means with this? I have no clue. Portland wanted nothing to do with this game, and it showed. The team couldn't be bothered to concentrate or bring it on consecutive possessions, and the Suns walked all over them. Pity, because the Suns are there for the taking. 88 possessions in this game, compared to 92 in Game 1. Don't let them tell you that Phoenix upped the pace. They just scored in transition more often.
Phoenix Finally Gets Into Fast Lane, Races Past Blazers To Even Series - SB Nation
After its high-octane offense was held in check in Game 1, Phoenix gets its fast break in gear and cuts down on its turnovers. The combination is too much for Portland to overcome.
Canzano: In Blazers-Suns playoff series, fans' reaction is telling | OregonLive.com
The differences between Portland and Phoenix as sports markets are fascinating. I'm convinced that the undying passion for the Blazers forced owner Paul Allen to alter his talent-over-character business model that once ruled One Center Court.
Suns and Blazers: In the NBA Playoffs, It's All About Adjustments | How To Watch Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns, like every other NBA team still playing, are learning that the playoffs are all about adjustments.
- SLAM ONLINE | " Suns/Blazers Game 2 Recap
Phoenix Suns answer with dominant Game 2 victory | Valley of the Suns
The Phoenix Suns set the tempo and dominated the Portland Trail Blazers to score a 119-90 victory in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill effective on both ends in Game 2 win over Portland Trail Blazers | Valley of the Suns
Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill made his presence felt on both ends of the floor Tuesday in the team's game 2 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
- The Official Phoenix Suns Blog " Blog Archive " Adjustments Are Key For Suns’ Win in Game 2
- Suns PF Amare Stoudemire:
Quesion: It looked like you guys took it more seriously tonight. Talk about that.
- SUNS: Richardson’s 29 Points Helps Even Up Opening Round for Suns
- SUNS: Newsroom Notes: Hill Scores 20, Stifles Miller as Suns Find Offense
azcentral.com blogs - Coro's Suns dish - PaulCoro - Suns Game 2 orange slices
Better defense gets the credit to sparking a better pace for the Suns' offense. But Phoenix clearly looked to push it more too. When the Suns did get into half-court offense, the ball movement was so much better after a lot of ball pounding on Sunday. There was one trip in Game 1 that had Steve Nash dribbling the ball the entire shot clock before shooting.
Desperate Phoenix Suns find vengeance in Game 2
"He was exceptional, as always," Suns forward Louis Amundson said. "That's what we've come to expect from him. We're all a little spoiled."
NBA Playoffs, Suns-Blazers Game 2: In Phoenix, No One Can Hear You Scream | Hardwood Paroxysm
For the Suns, it’s that simple: all they have to do is play the same way they’ve been playing over the last two months, and they’ll win the series. As the better team (or in this case, the healthier team), they have the luxury of showing up when and where they want to as long as they can do it four times. Be it in Portland or in Phoenix, the Suns will have the advantage whenever they hit the floor, particularly now that Nicolas Batum (strained shoulder) can be counted among the wounded.
Tuesday’s best highlight: Circus shot, the Nash-ty way | Blog Archive | Nothing Easy | Blogs | TheScore.com
When I saw this play happen, I knew it had to be play of the night and our video guys did not disappoint. People wonder how a 36-year-old like Steve Nash can continue to play at such a high level — it’s because he makes shots like this look routine. All in a night’s work for Captain Canada.
Another game, another Blazers injury -- this time to Nicolas Batum | OregonLive.com
After the game, Batum could not lift his right arm above his head or move it very far backward in the visiting locker room at US Airways Center. So his playing status is at least in jeopardy going forward in the Blazers’ best-of-seven postseason series that is even at 1-1. "You know last year I played seven months with it and that was worse," Batum said of his surgically repaired right shoulder. "So I’m sure I’m going to play." Wait, is he sure? Or merely optimistic? "Optimistic," he said, laughing, before estimating there to be a 50 percent chance.
Marcus Camby Discusses His Extension With Blazers | NBA FanHouse
Camby talked about the timing of the deal at this morning's shootaround, and said that his loyalty played a role in getting the talks moving quickly. "I'm a big loyal guy," Camby said. "I've never had a chance to go into free agency. When I was in New York, I signed an extension there. When my deal was up and I was in Denver, I signed an extension there. Wherever I'm at, I tend to put my all into it -- not just to the city, but also the community. So I'm looking forward to doing some things in the community also."
Canzano: Time for the Blazers to raise their fists together | OregonLive.com
Harmony, sort of. It was punctuated, of course, an split-second later, as Pendergraph followed the final teammate into the locker room, then reached back with his own giant fist and smacked it in center of the metal door --- "SMASH!" It startled everyone. So let that be the call to action for the Blazers. They can afford a lackluster, de-energized effort on the road for one game. They can be less aggressive for four quarters on one night in Phoenix. They can get beat to loose balls, and be slow to rotate, and fail to get back on defense or play with urgency once.
With bounce-back performances, wings give lift to Suns - NBA | CBSSports.com Basketball
What was perplexing, however, was the inordinate amount of attention Stoudemire's poor Game 1 performance drew in media circles. Sure, he took 19 shots to score 18 points. Sure he was a team-worst minus-16. And sure, he admitted losing track of his foul count, drawing his sixth late in the game. But Stoudemire will struggle again in this series. The Blazers just match up well with the Suns' leading scorer. What cannot coexist with his struggles, and what did exist in Game 1, was the utter absence of Suns wing play.
Steve Nash, Suns tie series with Trail Blazers with Game 2 win - Frank Hughes | SI.com
Nobody expected the Portland Trail Blazers to sweep the Phoenix Suns. But nobody expected the Blazers to turn their Game 1 upset into a completely demoralizing loss, either. Still, that's what happened when an inspired Suns team played the way it had played over the final month of the season. It happened on several fronts.
Phoenix Suns get off to fast start in Game 2 against Portland Trail Blazers
The Suns have averaged 5 more points at US Airways Center than on the road.
TNT Game Notes: Game 2 - Bright Side Of The Sun
"I think one thing Portland has to concentrate on is opening the floor up a little more on the offensive end. They started getting closer and closer to the rim. They have the ability to beat people off the dribble and they didn't take advantage of that in Game #2 like they did in Game #1."
Redemption for Jason Richardson as Suns Rout Blazers in Game 2 | NBA FanHouse
"I was [upset]," Richardson said of his Game 1 performance. "I couldn't sleep until four or five in the morning, just watching the game over and over and over and seeing everything I did wrong." (It's nice to see that professional athletes that have made millions upon millions of dollars care so much.)
Steve Nash’s beyond legendary status in Canada | iFollo
Nash was also awarded the highly prestigious Order of Canada, by the Canadian government and was given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.
- Trail Blazers remain 'open' to Brandon Roy returning for NBA playoffs | OregonLive.com
Watching Film: Guarding the Phoenix Screen-Roll | Rip City Project | A Portland Trailblazers blog
The Phoenix Suns love to run the pick-and-roll. They run it with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, they run it with Goran Dragic and Louis Amundson, they even run it with Jarron Collins. I, on the other hand, love to watch film. I even put a little film in my hair every morning to hold it up. 1+1 = a video on how the Blazers defended the perimeter screen in their Game 1 victory. Let’s take a look:
Jason Richardson is the man, No KG = mollywhoop of the Heat, Kobe Bryant knows how to rain on a parade, Hawks win cause JJ's got the Js, Stephen Jackson WILL play, Cuban hates the Spurs - 2010 NBA Playoffs Day 5 | Golden State Of Mind
29 points,6 boards. Man, I miss this guy. We traded him for...Brandan Wright? What were his stats like this year? Steve Nash had 16 assists. Guess that's how you win...