Postgame quotes and notes: Blazers 96, Suns 87
Official postgame quotes and notes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 96-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at the Rose Garden in Portland.
BLAZERS POST GAME QUOTES
Saturday, April 24, 2010 – Final Score: Portland 96, Phoenix 87
NATE McMILLAN, HEAD COACH
On Brandon Roy playing:
“A long sleepless night. Brandon has been working since really the day after the surgery. He felt great coming out of the surgery, had a lot of movement the day of the surgery, started working out, was feeling good, was feeling absolutely no pain. Our thought was he would probably be out for the series, then it just kept moving up. We talked about this could get to a sixth game Thursday, possibly playing then. Then moved up to possibly playing him Monday. He went through a workout yesterday because he really wanted to play tonight. He didn’t want to [wait?] until Monday. We talked about it and went through some two-on-two full court yesterday in practice and felt no pain, but his conditioning was really bad. Basically, I said no, you’re not ready. He was ok with it, he left, and then it was phone calls all night. I talked to him again, he wanted to play bad. Last night, I called him and talked to him and told him you just didn’t look like he was ready to go… There was no pain in the knee so he texted me back about 8:00 last night and said, ‘coach, I think I should play.’ I called Kevin about 11:00 when I got the text and told Kevin. At that time, I felt like we needed to get our owner involved in this. We talked about that, we talked about it this morning. Right before the game, after talking to our doctors and our trainer and Brandon, we agreed to let him go. He would have been really bothered if he didn’t have the opportunity to play in this game.”
Any gamesmanship with the situation? “Oh, it was back and forth. It was back and forth all night long and all during the morning. I just felt like we, as an organization, needed to make this decision, not based on me. But Brandon was feeling good. Our doctors were okay to let him go as far as what his response to treatment and what he was feeling. I asked him how did he feel and he said he felt great. It really worked out for us. I thought he lifted our team tonight. We wanted to keep him around 20, 25 minutes and we were close to that.”
“I thought we played the game that we needed to play to win.”
Momentum going forward?
“We finally got to playing basketball, scrapping. We matched their intensity which we’ve been talking about the last two games and challenged them. I felt like we were the aggressors. That’s a really good team. Nash is unbelievable as far as taking advantage of situations on the offensive end of the floor. They made plays but I thought we played with a lot of confidence to night. We didn’t look tight. I thought the execution was good. The defense was good. It was a 48 minute game that we played tonight.”
On LaMarcus Aldridge:
“ I thought LaMarcus responded like we needed him to respond tonight. Big game, he showed up and got into the paint. I thought the physical play that they’ve been playing the last two games, he had a calmness about him tonight. It didn’t rattle him. He stayed with getting post position, fighting for post position. The double teams didn’t rattle him tonight. I thought he did a good job of stretching the double teams and finding our guys on the weak side. He just played a poised game down in the post tonight.”
BLAZERS POST GAME QUOTES
On the decision to play today
Yesterday, I practiced 2-on-2. Coach (McMillan) didn’t think I was quite ready to go out and play. He told me to wait ’til Game 5. I was texting him all night trying to convince him, but it just wasn’t working. I went to him again, and he said it’s fine as long as Mr. Allen and Kevin Pritchard are on board. I found out during our team meeting, they gave me a thumbs up and I was OK to go.
We had talked for a while after practice. I was sitting down watching a couple of games yesterday, I was like, ‘Coach, I want to play.’ He texted back, you gotta be patient.
As the night went on, I texted him, ‘Even if I can’t play 35 minutes, I can play 15-20 minutes and help.’ He was a little disappointed with my conditioning with 2-on-2. But even in my best shape, I’m not a good full court 2-on-2 type of player.
He (Coach McMillan) really didn’t want me to play. He was thinking about me long-term. I’m a tough person. If I feel I can play, I’m not going to waste any games. I just don’t feel right sitting in the back watching. He really was on me tonight to wait until Game 5.
I feel good on the floor making some moves and just trying to get my rhythm back. We had a big win and LaMarcus did a great job carrying us tonight.”
For my first game in a couple weeks, I thought I did OK. The biggest thing I was trying to do tonight is make plays and try to test my knee out, and it was fine. Hopefully, I’ll play better next game and continue to take more pressure off these guys.
On the status of his knee
There’s no soreness. It felt fine. I stressed to the doctor, it feels just like it did before surgery. I worked out really good the last three days. I didn’t just feel right sitting in the training room knowing that I could contribute.
I didn’t quite hear the Rocky music. I heard the fans. The biggest thing I had to keep telling myself was to just relax. Once I played, I finally calmed down, I was able to make some shots in the fourth quarter.
It’s a given I will play Monday in Phoenix.
About seeing Brandon Roy on the floor
It was huge. As soon as he checked in the game, I got my first open shot with nobody guarding me. Having him out there, it’s big for us. Any second, he can get going. I was happy to see him out there. I think now, it’s a little bit easier. He is going to have his rhythm back the next game. They can’t do some things they were doing earlier without Brandon out there. We’ve gotten one there, so that’s not impossible. With having Brandon back, it makes us even better.
On facing up to the basket more
I probably did more and tried to face up a little more. I tried to make reads earlier and not try to wait for the double-team and make the first move and make them play me.
All my teammates told me, don’t worry about anything, just go out and shoot and make aggressive moves. I tried to make quick moves and take my shot. I wasn’t trying to think out there, just play basketball.
I came out with a different mindset, trying to be aggressive and get to the line. I was going to take whatever they gave me. They gave me baseline, so I took it all night.
ALVIN GENTRY, HEAD COACH
ON BRANDON ROY
“He’s a good player basically. The only game we beat them he played during the regular season. He’s an All-Star player. Obviously he’s just not 100%. I’m sure that gave them an emotional lift, just him being out there, he made a couple of plays that were key.”
“For us, the difference in the game was that we didn’t play with the energy that we really needed to, to beat this team, and if you don’t, you struggle against them. I thought we had the pace of the game where we need to have it at the start, in the first quarter and even in the second quarter, but we ended up with 37 in the second half, you won’t be able to beat this team doing that.”
“We can’t turn the ball over against this team. I think we had three straight turnovers on possessions right there. I didn’t like the pace of the game at all in the fourth quarter. I didn’t think that we ever got into the open court…there were never opportunities for us to attack in the open court. We let their defense get set, at the end of the day we basically played at their pace and when we do that we’ll get ourselves in trouble.”
On the return of Brandon Roy:
“I think it’s just another player for them. For the fans it was great- they got really hyped for him. It’s just something we have to look at and it’s just another player out there. Whether he plays or not we just have to do what we do and not be focused on them.”
On the Suns’ fourth quarter:
“We just got real stagnant in that fourth quarter. We’re a team that runs and likes to play in the open court, so for us it’s something that we have to look at just continue to try and get better. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We just have to continue to have faith in ourselves.”
On going back to Phoenix with the series tied:
“It’s going to be a dog fight. We’re not just going to lay down and die. We have to go ahead and take care of home court and then come back here and win.”
On the match-up with Nicolas Batum:
“He’s very long and he’s a good defender, but they ended up switching and I still think I ended up scoring probably fifty percent of the time or got an assist fifty percent of the time, which is a good ratio for us. We have to get more open court stuff, get the ball moving a little more and not get as stagnated. When the ball stops they’re a really good defensive team. When the ball moves, you can make every team look like an average defensive team. So we have to put more pressure on the defense.”
On LaMarcus Aldridge’s performance:
“We’ve done a good job on him for the most part this series. He had an exceptional night tonight. It seemed like he made a lot of shots, so we just have to stick with the same, make a little bit tougher on him and hopefully we can get him to miss a few more.”
— Tonight marked the 114th straight Trail Blazers sellout at the Rose Garden (including playoffs), dating back to Dec. 21, 2007.
— LaMarcus Aldridge scored a playoff career-high 31 points, including a game-high 10 points in the fourth quarter … His nine free throws made and 12 attempted also marked playoff career bests … Aldridge notched his third career playoff double-double (10 games), with his 11 rebounds one shy of a playoff career best … Portland’s starting forwards (Aldridge and Nicolas Batum) scored 17 of the team’s 26 first-quarter points.
— Brandon Roy played for the first time since suffering a slight tear of the meniscus in his right knee on April 11 at L.A. Lakers … He underwent surgery to repair the injury on April 16 … Roy came off the bench to play for the first time since Dec. 22, 2006, and third time in his career.
— The Trail Blazers last split the first four games of a series, 2-2, in the First Round of the 1996 NBA Playoffs against the Utah Jazz … Portland is 5-3 all-time when tied, 2-2, including a 4-1 record in seven-game series.
— Portland’s 70-32 record all-time at home in the postseason ranks fifth among active teams.
— Marcus Camby tied a playoff career high with five assists (done twice before, last April 27, 2004) … Camby recorded four assists to lead all players in the first quarter alone.
— Juwan Howard pulled in five of the game’s 19 offensive rebounds, just one shy of his highest career mark in the postseason.
— Andre Miller has led Portland in assists in all four games of the series.
— Five Trail Blazers are averaging double figures in scoring during the series (Aldridge, 20.3; Miller, 17.3; Bayless, 13.0; Batum, 10.8; Roy, 10.0).
— Nicolas Batum’s three-pointer at the 9:52 mark of the first quarter gave Portland its first lead, 7-6, in the series since holding a 5-4 edge at the 9:06 mark of the first quarter in Game 2 at Phoenix.
— The Trail Blazers passed out nine more assists than the Suns, who had a 67-48 advantage in that category in the series prior to today’s game.
— Portland has now attempted 29 more foul shots in the series than Phoenix … The Trail Blazers earned 163 more free throws and made 212 more than their opponents during the regular season.
— The Trail Blazers led at the end of three quarters for the first time in the series … Phoenix took a 72-70 lead into the fourth quarter during Portland’s Game 1 win.
— Portland held a 12-2 advantage in second-chance scoring in the first half and finished with a 17-5 margin … The Suns had counted a 59-44 edge in the category during the first three series games.
— The Trail Blazers scored the game’s first six fastbreak points and carried a 16-4 edge overall.
— Neither team led by double figures at any point in the game (Portland, 9; Phoenix, 7) … There were 13 lead changes in the game, but the Suns never led in the fourth quarter.
— Phoenix’s 87 points are tied for its 13th-fewest points in a playoff game, all-time … The Suns are now 2-19 when scoring fewer than 90 points in the postseason … Phoenix averaged 109.0 points in the first three series contests.
— Grant Hill’s game-high 12 rebounds were two shy of his playoff career best (14, 4/25/97).