Postgame quotes and notes: Suns 93, Blazers 87

Official postgame quotes and notes following the Portland Trail Blazers 93-87 road defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday evening.

(On Tonight’s Game)
“They went zone and we didn’t attack that. We stopped moving the ball and just didn’t attack it. We were launching our jump shots from the perimeter and they weren’t going in. As long as you are taking shots from the perimeter, they’re going to stay in it and pack it in, which they did. They packed it in and made us shoot shots from the perimeter. Down the stretch it looked like we had heavy legs. Not a lot of man movement, or ball movement against that zone. Mainly dribbling and pounding and settling for three point balls.”

(On Tonight’s Game)
“They had to do something because we were controlling the game. Then their zone kind of slowed us down. We let it affect us and in the fourth quarter they were able to get to the free throw line and get into a rhythm a little bit with Stoudemire. Some shots led to some transition baskets for them, Dudley hit a three, Grant Hill hit a shot. I think today was just that we didn’t make shots. Even when they went zone we had a chance to control the game but we didn’t do it.”

(On Zone)
“I was trying to get into those lanes but they did a good job of keeping it tight. The last couple of games we’ve struggled in the fourth quarter against zone defenses so we’ve got to start picking that up. We had a lead until they went to that zone and then we struggled from then on out. They hit some shots but they did a good job of beating us in transition and attacking our defense getting back. We missed some shots and they got out and did a good job of fast breaking. And again, they made shots and that was the difference.”

(Opening statement)
“It was exactly how I thought it would be; It was a real grinded out game. I thought our defense was great and I thought their defense was great. We had a hard time generating any offense against their defense. I thought they did a great job, they were very active, and they took our post passes away from Amar’e, and they just did a really good job defensively. On the flip side of that, we did a real great job on their guys. I thought we played Brandon Roy about as well as you can play him, he was 8 for 25 and that’s the best you can hope for. Their back court was fifteen for forty five and I just thought everyone did a really god job. We went to a zone there because they were going to run a lot of isolation plays for Roy because he’s really good at that and we thought that was the way of taking him out of a lot of isolation situations. I thought we did a great job in the zone and we had a couple of mis- rotations where they got lay ups but for the most part I thought we shot some really god shots against the zone. It was a great win for us.”

(On getting the win despite the poor shooting)
“It was very important. Normally when we shoot just 30-something percent, just a few years prior, we had a hard time winning. I think this year we are doing a great job, whether we are scoring 152 or having a slow scoring night, we are able to get the win.”

(On playing Golden State tomorrow)
“Its never easy playing those guys on the second night of a back-to-back. They are so young and they just fast break and are up-tempo the entire game. We just need to keep playing well and go out and get the win.”

(On game)
“The first three quarters there was no rhythm for us offensively. We were turning the ball over too much. That’s just how it is sometimes. Against a good team they make you play that way. The fourth quarter we started down by four but Steve (Nash) and Amar’e (Stoudemire) started making some shots and I got some good looks. I may not normally take them but I thought hey this is a close game maybe if I hit one or two I could get back into a rhythm. Defensively I thought we went to that 2-3 zone at the right time. That’s what got us the win.”

(On the playoff hunt)
“All the teams ahead of us are all winning their games, whether it’s winning 10 straight or winning 10 out of 15 games. I think it’s just big to win the games you are supposed to. This team isn’t that far behind us and now we are going on the road to play Golden State. In the years past we have lost to them (Golden State) and those are games we should win. It’s not guaranteed. We have to come out tomorrow just like we did tonight prepared for a fight.”

•   The Suns’ magic number to clinch the 29th playoff berth in franchise history and the fifth in the last six seasons drop to SIX, any combination of Suns wins and Houston Rockets (36-32) losses.  Phoenix can finish with the same record as the Rockets and clinch a berth by virtue of their season series win over Houston (3-0 with one meeting remaining).

•   The Suns (44-26) remain in fifth place in the Western Conference, expanding their lead over the sixth-place Oklahoma City Thunder (42-26, includes loss today) to one full game, and pulling within one game of the idle Utah Jazz (45-25) for fourth place in the West.  Phoenix now leads seventh-place San Antonio Spurs (41-27, includes loss today) by two games and the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers by 2.5 games.

•   Phoenix won its fourth consecutive game and, in doing so, ended the Blazers’ five-game win streak.  Only the Los Angeles Lakers’ West-best six-game win streak (includes victory tonight) is longer than the Suns’ current streak.

•   Phoenix improved to a season-high 18 games over .500, the most games over .500 the club has been since ending the 2007-08 season 28 games over (55-27).

•   The Suns now own victories over each of the teams currently in the top eight in the Western Conference.

•   The Suns improved to 18-5 (.783) in their last 23 games overall, including 7-2 (.778) in their last nine games.  Phoenix owns a 13-4 (.765) record since the All-Star break.

•   Phoenix improved to 25-5 (.833) in its last 30 home games against the Western Conference.  That mark includes an 18-5 (.783) home record against its own conference this season.

•   Phoenix concluded its season-long seven-game home stand with a 5-2 (.714) record.  It marks the Suns’ longest regular season homestand since March 10-23, 1993, a homestand the Suns also finished with a 5-2 mark.

The Suns tonight won a game in which they were held under 40 percent from the field for the first time since Feb. 2, 2008 vs. Seattle, more than two calendar years ago. Phoenix was held to sub-40 percent shooting for just the THIRD time this season (Jan. 22 vs. Chicago, Nov. 12 at LA Lakers), finishing the game 31-of-80 from the field (.388) from the field.

Trailing by two, 76-74, with 7:53 remaining in the game, the Suns went on a 12-2 run to take their largest lead of the game, 86-78, with 4:26 to go. JARED DUDLEY scored eight of the Suns’ 12 points during the run en route to a team-high 10 fourth-quarter points and more three-pointers (two) than the entire Blazers’ team (1-of-9, .111).

• Phoenix won its SIXTH home game this season when trailing after three quarters (6-6), something the club did just FOUR times overall in 2008-09 (home and road: 4-30). The Suns have won 10 games this season when trailing to start the fourth quarter (10-18). Phoenix trailed 68-64 entering tonight’s final quarter.

•   Though he did not reach 19 points tonight, AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE extended his career-long streak of 18 or more points to 23 consecutive games.  This streak is the longest active streak of its kind in the NBA.  LARRY NANCE holds the Suns franchise record with 18 or more points in 31-straight games (March 24, 1987-Jan. 2, 1988).
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