Postgame quotes and notes: Suns 108, Blazers 89
Official postgame quotes and notes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 108-89 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at the Rose Garden.
NATE McMILLAN, BLAZERS HEAD COACH
“The first quarters have really decided the game. It seems like both quarters were the same. LaMarcus is in foul trouble and we have to go to our bench. They get off to a fast start. We give up 30-point quarters. The first half was basically just like the last game. Emotionally right now, we’re not controlling our emotions and being able to play at this level without being calm out ther. It’s going to be a physical game and they’re going to be aggressive.
“We talk about our three c’s: being calm, being clear about what we want to do, and being consistent. That hasn’t happened in these last two games.”
On Hill defending Miller creating problems:
“It’s put a lot of pressure on other guys to have to do some things when L.A. has been in foul trouble early in the first quarter. They’ve got size in Hill, so we’ve been in holes in the first half with foul trouble and them loading up and trying to take out LaMarcus and Miller. We’ve struggled to get other guys going. We can’t get in foul trouble, one. And two, other guys got to make plays. When they get their opportunities, they’re going to have to knock down their shots.”
“Tonight we just seemed tight. The first half, we seemed to be a little tight, maybe put some pressure on ourselves. The second half, we won that. We started to play basketball. We started to fight and won both of those quarters. Somehow we have to get that fight, that scrappiness in the first half.”
“We won the second half and that was something that we need to take into the game Saturday, that we did win the second half. We’ve beaten this team before – we can do it, but we can’t start the way we have the last two games.”
“I thought the first half, we didn’t show any calmness. The second half, we fought our way back into the game. We get within 11 with about 5, 6 minutes to go and we foul three straight trips, put them on the free throw line. It was an emotional foul as opposed to position defense, we just hit a guy and bailed him out. That’s where you’ve got to be able to calm down in situations like that – understand time, score, situation. You’re down 11, you’ve made a run, 6 minutes to go – a lot of time. Get a stop, make them earn it, but don’t put them on the free throw line. They’re a great free throw shooting team.”
“They’re trying to take me out of course, in any way they can. Every time I catch it they’re just doubling. I just have to figure out ways to get going and I think we tried to feed me for that quick minute but then they started coming up catching it and stuff and I started passing again.”
ON PERSONAL GAME
“I can’t really get into that. I’m just trying to stay positive right now and I can evaluate it later, after the season.”
ON ROSE GARDEN
“They cheered for us tonight. Being down 18, I don’t know if many other fans would do that.”
ON PHYSICAL PLAY
“I don’t see physicality being a problem for us. I think defensively, just stopping them, we’ve got play defense and we’ve got to get stops. Last year with Houston, it was a much more physical team, much different with points in the paint, this team is more spread out, we just have to find ways to control it, it’s not physicality.”
ALVIN GENTRY, SUNS HEAD COACH
ON JASON RICHARDSON
“He’s played great. I think he’s been the guy to space the floor for us and they did a good job of taking Amar’e’s game away from him on the road, but in order to do that you have to have an extra defender and we did a good job of swinging the ball and finding Jason and obviously he’s in a good groove shooting the basketball right now. He’s key for us. He did a good job defensively also…he had a really, really good game.”
“We just thought that if we could get off to a good start, where we could keep the crowd out of the game and then continue that, it would be great….for us, it was really important for us to establish how we were going to be able to play. We thought that if we could open the floor, if we could come down, dribble penetrate, do some things right there where we catch them, before they get their defense set. As I told you guys, I really do believe that half-court defense; if you get them in half-court defense, they’re as good as any team in the NBA, and that’s exactly what happened in the 3rd quarter. We stopped running. We got into the half-court situation and you can see that it becomes really difficult to score against these guys when they’re in half-court.”
”When you play a team that many times, there are going to be little bumps here and there, it’s no big deal. It’s just what Playoff basketball is all about, and Nate’s guys really guard and do a good job and they’re a real physical team, and we are a team that tries to push the basketball and get on the move and anytime that combination gets together there are going to be some bumps and stuff…There is a long way to go before anything about this series is over. These guys are obviously not going to quit. If you think they’re going to quit then you don’t know Nate.”
On whether or not this was his best game as a pro:
“I think that is my best game as a pro. Nine years in the league, I’ve only been in the playoffs twice. I spent seven summers at home, and right now I’m just not taking anything for granted. I’m leaving everything on the floor.”
On possibly going up 3-1 in the series:
“That would be huge, but we know that game four is going to be very tough. This team is not going to bow down to us. They’ve got their backs against the wall and they’re a pretty good team. We can’t get too relaxed- we’ve still got to come out aggressive like we have the last two games.”
On hitting three pointers in the fourth quarter:
“It felt great. We know their crowd is a big factor- it’s like their sixth man, so once their crowd got into the game we knew we had to come up with big baskets and big stops on the other end. When I hit the threes I knew that was big for us to get our momentum back.”
On the Suns’ big first halves in the last two games:
“We’re coming out being aggressive. In game one they really slowed the tempo down on us and we weren’t aggressive on the offensive end. I think in the last two games we really picked up our offensive tempo and just kept on pushing it down the court.”
On Jason Richardson’s performance:
“It’s important for us to knock down shots when they clog the middle and zone up the middle, and tonight he just caught fire. When he shoots it like that we’re going to be difficult to beat, and he was phenomenal tonight.”
On hoping to go up 3-1 in the series:
“We don’t want to be satisfied now that we’ve got home court [advantage] back. We want to have a great performance in game four, go up 3-1 and try to go back home with a chance to clinch.”
On difference between the first game and last two games:
“I think ball-movement, tempo, spacing. We kind of figured out what they were doing. I think we’ve gotten so much joy out of Amare’s isos the last month and a half that I think in game one we were kind of stubborn going to that, and they zoned that out. That’s not a beneficial play for us right now against this team, and I think we’ve recognized that. We’ve gone to him [Stoudamire] on the move more often, we’ve gone to more pick-and-rolls, we’ve tried to get into more of a flow whether it’s in transition or in a secondary break. When Jason [Richardson] shoots the ball like he did tonight it makes it very difficult for them to be loaded up on me or all in the paint to stop Amare, and he [Richardson] was outstanding.”
— Tonight marked the 113th straight Trail Blazers sellout at the Rose Garden (including playoffs), dating back to Dec. 21, 2007.
— The Trail Blazers have won a five or seven-game series despite trailing 2-1 once all-time, in the 1977 NBA Finals win over Philadelphia (down 0-2).
— In all 14 of Portland’s five and seven-game series all-time that were tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the series.
— This is the seventh meeting in the postseason between these teams, with each team winning three series and Portland holding a 15-13 overall lead after tonight’s game.
— Portland’s 69-32 record all-time at home in the postseason ranks sixth among active teams … The Trail Blazers had won two straight playoff home games and four of the past five, dating back to 2003, before tonight’s contest.
— Andre Miller tied a playoff career high with nine assists (9, Denver vs. L.A. Clippers, 4/29/06).
— Marcus Camby has recorded double digits in rebounds in all three postseason games … He came into tonight’s game leading the league in postseason rebounding (13.5).
— Portland’s two losses in this series represent two of its three largest losses of the entire season, having lost by 19 points or more just once during the regular season (76-96 vs. Boston, Feb. 19) … The Trail Blazers won nine times by at least 19 points during the regular year.
— Rudy Fernandez counted 12 of his 22 points and four of his five three-pointers in the series in the fourth quarter of tonight’s game.
— Portland held a 40-25 advantage in bench scoring on the night.
— The Trail Blazers outscored the Suns in the paint, 14-0, in the third quarter.
— Phoenix scored 10 of its 11 fastbreak points in the first quarter alone.
— Phoenix’s 13 three-pointers made are tied for the most by a Trail Blazers opponent in the postseason, all-time (13, Dallas, 4/25/03) … The Suns’ all-time record for treys in a playoff game is 15.
— Jason Richardson set a new playoff career high with 42 points, tied for the most points by any player in the 2010 NBA Playoffs … The 42 points are tied for the sixth-most allowed by the Trail Blazers in a playoff game … His 29 points in Game 2 were just one shy of his previous playoff career high of 30.
— Jason Richardson’s eight three-pointers are the most ever against the Trail Blazers in a postseason game and one shy of Phoenix’s record for threes in a playoff game (9, Rex Chapman, 4/25/97 vs. Seattle).
— The Suns are the first Trail Blazers opponent to score 100 points or more in three straight playoff games since Phoenix did so in sweeping Portland in the First Round in 1995.