Suns Wings Destroying the Glass

PHOENIX - APRIL 18: Jason Richardson #23 of the Phoenix Suns jumps for a rebound over Marcus Camby #21 of the Portland Trail Blazers during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on April 18, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With Robin Lopez out with injury, Jarron Collins being the least productive starting center in the playoffs (or ever), and Amare Stoudemire averaging almost 3 fewer rebounds a game than his season average (Bully Ball, grrr!), the Suns are suffering from a glaring lack of inside size and toughness in this series. However, it turns out the Phoenix Suns are still winning the battle for rebounds and second-chance points, thanks to a somewhat unexpected source: their wings.

Rabid Suns followers have probably noticed over the course of the season that Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and Goran Dragic in particular have a nose for the carom. After all, they essentially carried the Suns' rebounding load during their glorious 14-3 run to start the season while Lopez was out with a broken foot and Amare was getting back into game shape.

Although Dragic and Dudley's playing time has been diminished in the playoffs thus far, Richardson and Hill have kicked their rebounding prowess into high gear again.

The Suns wings as a unit are pulling down 50% of the team's total rebounds (grabbing 63 of a total 125 rebounds over games 1, 2, and 3). The Blazer wings, by comparison, are only netting 40% of the total rebounds (46 out of a total 115).

Richardson alone is averaging 8 rebounds a game, with Hill just below that, at 7.5. That's incredible production from two of the team's elder statesmen, both listed at under 6'8". The two alone have outdone or matched the combined rebounding effort of all Blazer wings -- namely Nicolas Batum, Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless, and Dante Cunningham -- in all three games of the series so far.

The rebounding production (or lack thereof) of each team's respective wing corps has facilitated an overall 59-44 advantage in second-chance points for the Suns. They did get outscored in this area in Game 3, but Phoenix's scorching hot shooting (53% from the field, 46% from three) eliminated much of the need for second attempts.

Over the season series and in the playoffs, the Blazers have presented a lot of tough matchups for the Suns, but they have not been able to contain the rebounding or scoring of Grant Hill or Jason Richardson, and it's killed them, particularly in the last two games. The Suns' wings have been a buoy for staying afloat in what could have been a brutal series, given Camby's relative success in minimizing Amare's impact, combined with Lopez's unavailability in the first round.

 

Game 1 Suns Blazers
Team (TRB) 47 44
Wings (TRB) 25 16
     
Game 2 Suns Blazers
Team (TRB) 43 34
Wings (TRB) 20 15
     
Game 3 Suns Blazers
Team (TRB) 35 37
Wings (TRB) 18 15
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