Postgame quotes and notes: Suns 119, Blazers 90

Official postgame quotes and notes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 119-90 defeat to the Phoenix Suns during Game 2 of a first round Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday night at US Airways Center in Phoenix.

(On Tonight’s Game)
“It was a sense of urgency. They came out and played physical, something they don’t do as much but that was a sense of urgency game for them. Their wing players shot the ball well, got some easy baskets and got them going early. Those are veteran guys that are in the playoffs and they know what it takes to get back into a rhythm. Steve (Nash) got everybody involved early. They were a little bit more aggressive on defense as far as trapping the ball, trapping LeMarcus in the post. We were prepared for it, we just didn’t react. The game just went by fast. They hit us; the transition game. That’s what they’ve been doing all year, getting easy baskets, transition baskets. They played a good game.
We got a win, but you never want to lose like that going home. We’re definitely still motivated; it’s a seven game series. They did their job coming in and we got a game, it’s a series. We have to go and protect our home court.”

(On Tonight’s Game)
“Grant is a great player, a great defender. He played great defense on the dribbler and now we have to adjust. We have to play the whole game and we have to play with this to win the series. We played a good game in the first game, we denied them. We let them play their game, just run and fast break. Steve Nash had 9 assists in one quarter. We let them play their game and that’s why we lost tonight. We have to come back, watch tape tomorrow, practice and work and go back Thursday at home.”

(On game)
“They got to that tempo that they wanted. They came out aggressive and you can expect that after losing a game. We talked about a sense of urgency that they came out with and we needed to match that and we never did that.”

(On going 1-1 in Phoenix)
“We came in and got a split. But based on tonight’s game and that sense of urgency and understanding that its still a long ways to go. You have to win four games. They came out and imposed their will right from the start by being aggressive defensively and attacking offensively with (Grant) Hill and (Jason) Richardson. They didn’t shoot all that well in the first game so we knew they would come out aggressively tonight and they had big first halves.”

(On Phoenix’s defense)
“They took us out of our offense early. They jammed (Andre) Miller and denied him the ball. We had some trouble getting into our offense and were kind of a little hesitant running our sets. They forced Rudy (Fernandez) to handle the ball and make some plays. That adjustment shouldn’t have been that effective. We can run our sets and it shouldn’t really matter which guard has the ball. Andre (Miller) can work a little harder to get the ball, but Rudy (Fernandez) can start the offense also. They were the aggressors right from the start.”

(On setting the tempo of the game)
“It was important for us to get out to a good start, No. 1 and No. 2, it was important for us to establish that we were going to be aggressive in transition and try to get some easy baskets. I thought we got off to a good start in that particular area right there and as the game went on I thought we got stronger in that area and it wasn’t so much that we ran and got fastbreak layups, but we ran and got easy shots. We didn’t give them a chance to get their defense established. They’re really good – I think they’re as good as anyone in the NBA if you get them in a half-court defense. I thought we did a good job of pushing the tempo of the game and we ended up with some open shots for J-Rich and those guys because (Portland) couldn’t quite get back and get their half-court defense established.”

(On the importance of having Grant Hill guard Andre Miller)
“Jon Barry said Steve Nash did a poor job on (Andre Miller) and Steve Nash guarded him for two possessions the other night. He said he thought we needed to get Steve off of him and those two possessions were critical. But in all honesty, J-Rich guarded him the other night and the one thing that I thought was we needed to free J-Rich up for his offense and it’s really tough guarding Andre. We decided we’d put Grant on him and thought the length would bother him a little bit and we thought he’d be able to keep him in front of him. It was more so to free up J-Rich for his offense and get him going and we thought that Grant would do a good job on him.”

(On playing Lamarcus Aldridge)
“We were just really aggressive – we just played much better defense than we did the other night. I thought we were much more aggressive from that standpoint and we did a good job when he posted up. The other night we just left our bigs alone and just had them guard him and then tonight we tried to second dribble, third dribble and get to the paint and be aggressive and double him and try to make him give the ball up.”

(On the team’s focus being improved)
“In all honesty it had to be. Obviously this was a humongous game for us and if you go over and talk to (Portland) they’ll say they did exactly what they wanted to do – they came down and split with us and somewhere along the line we’re going to have to win a game in Portland. I just think the whole focus of the game was much better from the standpoint of us being aggressive. I think we were the aggressors offensively and we did a good job on Andre. Andre is a tough cover and the minutes that Grant put in and I don’t think he nearly gets the credit for the defense that he plays. No one really talks about it, but we ask him to cover Derrick (Rose) one night and then Tony Parker the next night and then we ask him to guard LeBron (James) and then Kobe (Byrant) and that’s tough for a guy his age – he’s going to get mad at me for saying that – but it’s a little bit tough night in and night out for him to do that, but I can ask him to do anything, I can ask him to guard anybody and I know I’m going to get 110 percent.”

(On guarding Andre Miller)
“I just tried to make him work. He’s a great player and I have a lot of respect for him. We’re close in age. He just had an off night tonight and I expect him to play better in Game 3. I think collectively we just tried to make him work.”

(On the difference between tonight and Game 1)
“I thought in Game 1 we just didn’t show up. We’d been playing very well since the All Star break and I just don’t think we showed up ready to play – some of that was Portland. I thought our energy was really good, our spirit was good, we came out really focused and we played hard on both ends.”

(On whether the game was a must-win)
“I think even with the win tonight, Portland is getting on the plane tonight and going back feeling good about the trip here – they got a win. It means we have to beat them in their own building where they play great and the crowd is noisy. I’m sure they expected us to come out and play a little better tonight and so as great as it feels, we’re still in a must-win situation, so we’ve still got to play blue collared and desperate, even though it’s not going to be easy up there for us.”

(On game)
“I think we were just more aggressive getting the ball up the floor and moving bodies around so they weren’t set and they weren’t able to zone-it-up as well. I thought we did a good just keeping the game in a little better tempo whether it was in transition or in the half-court just moving the ball around and our bodies around giving ourselves the opportunity to get into the seams of the defense.”

(On defensive effort)
“Grant (Hill) was phenomenal tonight on both ends of the floor. His ability and energy on the defensive end to make it difficult for people was huge for us. We were just more aggressive and weren’t as hesitant. We didn’t sit back and hope for the best. We were more aggressive and it worked for us tonight, so we just have to play like that and play harder and sometimes you’re going to get burned but if you play hard you usually make money on the deal.”

(On the difference from Game 1)
“Just coming out and being aggressive. Game 1 was tough – I had a tough coverage guarding Andre Miller and I just didn’t bring the energy I normally bring for this team. Tonight I just wanted to be aggressive and help as much as I could.”

(On being upset over his performance in Game 1)
“I was. 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.”

(On guarding Andre Miller)
“It’s tough – I don’t know how Grant guarded him, he did a good job on him tonight and scored 20. I couldn’t do it. It’s a tough coverage on him because he has the ball in his hands all the time and he’s coming off pick and rolls. He’s the leader on that team right now with Brandon (Roy) out. He’s doing a lot of scoring and I have to give it to Grant for the job he did tonight.”

(On being more focused)
“We came out with great focus from the start. We knew Portland was a dangerous team from Game 1 and tonight we came out with phenomenal focus and we played well and played together and played great defensively. That being said, it allowed us to get the win.”

(On being aggressive)
“That was definitely key for us to be aggressive – especially defensively. We did a great job Game 1 against (Lamarcus) Aldridge and tonight we wanted to do it again. We did a phenomenal job – Grant Hill did a great job guarding Andre Miller and with myself being aggressive trying to get to the free throw line and just trying to create that offense for us was working well for us tonight.”

(On Portland’s focus on shutting him down)
“This playoff series reminds me of the playoff series against Memphis a few years ago where they were really focused on taking me out of the game by clogging the lanes up and really allowing the shooters to shoot. That being said, tonight J-Rich did a phenomenal job of knocking down open shots as well as other guys. I try to make sure I find guys when I drive to the lane because they’re clogging the lanes up on me and leaving the shooters open and tonight they did a great job of knocking down open shots.”

Score   Record      High Points     High Rebounds           High Assists

Portland 90 1-1 M. Webster (16) M. Camby (10) A. Miller (3)
Phoenix 119 1-1 J. Richardson (29) G. Hill (8) S. Nash (16)

•   The Suns earned their first playoff victory since April 27, 2008 and evened the best-of-seven series with the Trail Blazers (1-1).  Phoenix is 16-10 (.615) all-time in series in which it splits the first two games.  Entering the 2010 playoffs, Portland has split the opening two games of a playoff series 18 times in franchise history and has lost 14 of those series.

•   Since 2000-01 in the NBA, teams with homecourt advantage that have split first two games have won 37 of those 56 series (.661).  That includes a 31-18 (.633) mark in best-of-seven series.  The Suns have won three of their last four series in which they have split the first two games at home.

•   The Suns earned their ninth consecutive win following a loss including the regular season.  Phoenix has not lost consecutive games since Jan. 25-26, 84 days ago.

•   Phoenix, who lost consecutive home games just once in 2009-10 and not since Dec. 21-23, improved to 9-1 (.900) including the regular season at US Airways Center following a home loss. The Suns have not dropped consecutive home games in the 2010 calendar year and overall have not done so since Dec. 21-23, 118 days ago.  Phoenix has lost two-straight home games only twice during ALVIN GENTRY’s tenure and is 10-2 (.833) at home following a home loss in that span.

•   The Suns improved to 13-9 (.591) at home in Game 2s in franchise history.  Overall the Suns improved to 19-34 (.358) all-time in the second game of a series, including a 10-17 (.370) mark in Game 2 following a Game 1 loss.

30-POINT QUARTERS: The Suns became the first team in the NBA in 2009-10 (84 games, regular season and playoffs) to score 30 or more in three quarters in a single game against the Blazers. In the first 16 quarters against the Blazers this season (first four meetings, including Game 1), the Suns registered a total of one 30-point quarter against Portland—the fourth quarter Feb. 10.

• SCORING: Entering the night, the Suns’ season high in scoring against the Blazers this season was 102 (first meeting, Dec. 17, 2009 at Portland) and their season-high field goal percentage against Portland was 48.1 percent (same game). FIRST FOUR MEETINGS (including Game 1): Suns averaged 99.0 points, 43.8 percent shooting overall and 36.7 percent from three. TONIGHT: Phoenix scored 119 points on 52.3 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three.

•   DEFENSE: The Suns held the Blazers under 40 percent shooting from the field for the SECOND time in FIVE meetings this season (2-0 Suns record).  Phoenix was 13-1 this season when holding its opponent under 40 percent field goal shooting.

•   JASON RICHARDSON scored a game-high 29 points, his THIRD career playoff effort of 27 or more points and his SEVENTH career 20-point postseason effort.  Richardson finished one point shy of his playoff career high: 30, April 27, 2007 vs. Dallas.

•   GRANT HILL tallied his first playoff 20-point game since April 23, 2007 and the 11th of his career overall.


Game 1
Suns Points
Suns FG Pct
Suns 3FG Pct
Miller/Bayless Points
Richardson/Hill Points
Nash Assists
16 (12 in first half)
Stoudemire FTM-A
Suns Fastbreak Points
Suns 30-Point Quarters

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