Postgame quotes and notes: Suns 107, Blazers 88

Official postgame quotes and notes following the Portland Trail Blazers’ 107-88 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night at the US Airways Center in Phoenix.

(On tempo of the game)
“I thought fell into their tempo. I thought the quick start we got some easy shots and towards the middle of that quarter we started taking jump shots, quick jump shots which we missed which in turn led to fast break points. We got caught up in their style of play. I thought we got off to a real nice start and as opposed to just coming down sticking to the game plan either playing early or playing late and continue to attack the basket with either post up or penetration. I thought we took some quick jump shots in the middle of that quarter and we missed and they were able to get back into the game.”

(On players getting in foul trouble)
“Ya, I mean it’s come down to the team who has been the aggressors. Tonight they pounded us on the boards; they out-worked us on the boards. The traps, we expected that tonight, the double teaming of Marcus (Camby) and Brandon (Roy). At times we were late getting to our spots and getting the ball to the weak side. They forced misses which again in turn led to fast break points.”

(On Tonight’s Game)
“Offensive rebounds and their bench got in the big score. They get 20 and 19 from Frye and Dudley; turnovers and offensive rebounds. It’s tough, but we’ve still got more games to play. They played with some energy, desperation after we got off to a good start. We made some turnovers that gave them some breaks that allowed them to get second chance points and get to the free throw line. We kind of killed ourselves because we played decent defense but we didn’t get the rebounds.”

(On Tonight’s Game)
“We didn’t control the tempo. We were playing great, but we were playing at their tempo and playing great. We were obviously making shots and when the ball was moving everybody was contributing. But we were playing at a fast tempo, and you’re going to have dry spells in any game and when we hit that dry spell, you could see we were playing at their tempo and they kept it going and they were able to get back in the game. We weren’t controlling the tempo like we were supposed to and it was going well, then the dry spell hit and we didn’t correct it. We gotta win. Gotta win.

(On the win)
“We did it defensively. We did a great job collectively out there. We were all over the place – rotation was great, boxing out and rebounding was great and we did a phenomenal job defensively and that carried us. The second unit did a great job as well. Channing and Jared shot the ball lights out tonight which was a great help for us and was a great lift – they carried us.”

(On Portland’s offense in the first few minutes)
“They got hot. They shot the ball maybe 85 percent for the first five minutes or so and they definitely were on fire to start the game. But we hung in there, we managed and we understood they couldn’t shoot that great the whole game. So we upped the intensity defensively, we got after it and we got the win.”

(On the offensive rhythm)
“We get out and go. First of all, it starts on the defensive end – getting stops, turnovers, rebounding and then that allows our offense to really get flowing. Secondly, even if they do score, we’ve got to get the ball out fast and just kind of run into our plays. Like Alvin said, it doesn’t need to be a breakneck speed, just as long as we push the tempo a little bit and get into our plays quickly, it’ll allow us to get out into space and score the ball.”

(On Channing Frye and Jared Dudley)
“That was great. A great game for us tonight and it was a huge game for us tonight – get a chance to go up 3-2 and they played like it was a huge game. Channing and Jared shot the ball extremely well and different nights, different guys and tonight was a great lift from those particular players.”

(On what the team has to do to close out the series in Game 6)
“We have to attack the same way – no let ups, continue to play great defensively and if we get open shots, continue to knock them down.”

(On the pace of the game)
“It was great – like we said, we talked about the pace and I think the pace was better. I don’t know how many fastbreak points we had, but that’s not really paramount to really just having a nice rhythm and tempo to our game. I also mentioned after the last game we didn’t make shots – we had open shots in Game 4 we didn’t make and tonight we made those shots. The bench contributed, we did a great job on the boards and it was just a much more suited performance to our team’s success.”

(On Portland’s run to start the game)
“It wasn’t what we desired coming out of the gates, but I think they made some shots – I think they made every shot – and you know it’s never going to be like that and we didn’t quite have a rhythm yet. I personally wasn’t really concerned.”

(On getting a run in the first quarter)
“It was big. We had to try and get something going. I was confident and we hadn’t, like I said, gotten into our stride yet. They were making everything so it made it feel like we were running uphill, but I just felt like we had to think of this thing as long-term and think of it as the stock market – we’re not day traders, we want to be very conservative and long term in our investment in transition. You’ve got to stick with it from the start to finish and can’t think, ‘Oh this isn’t working, we’ve got to walk the ball up and try to get a good shot.’ Lets keep the tempo going to our pace and I think that’s how we got it back to a point at the end of the quarter.”

(On the offense getting closer to finding its old rhythm)
“A bit. I still don’t think we’re flying up and down the court or anything, but I felt like we got a few more opportunities in transition and we just had a better tempo to our game. We weren’t as stagnant and predictable – when the ball stops and we’re either thinking or hesitating or looking around at each other, I think we can become predictable and much more easy to defend and I thought there was less of that tonight.”

(On the tempo of the game)
“At the start of the game they shot the ball great. We took the first timeout and you get a stat sheet and it says (they have) 100 percent shooting – but you’ve just got to keep playing. NBA games are just such long games. The guys were great, they didn’t panic at all and they realized that at some stage there was going to have to be a lot of missed shots if they were shooting 100 percent at the first timeout. They just continued to play – I thought our defense picked up. We gave away a couple of layups there and we had a couple of shots we didn’t get in, but I loved the pace of the game and I loved the fact that we kept pushing the basketball. I thought our defense got more aggressive and I thought that’s what made the difference – our defense made the difference because we were running off misses instead of off makes and I think when you do that we’ll get some easy baskets somewhere along the line and although we didn’t shoot it great from three, I love the fact we got Channing (Frye) back, we got Jared (Dudley) back and those guys coming off the bench gave us a huge, huge lift.”

(On Goran Dragic)
“I thought he had played a little passive and you can understand that with it being his first playoff series. But we talked today and I told him that it’s the same guys he played against during the regular season and he was a really good player for us during the regular season. I just told him to have confidence and not worry about the mistakes and be aggressive and if you make a couple of mistakes, so be it, but I needed him to be aggressive. I thought he did a great job of taking the ball to the basket, trying to find open guys and it was key – he got those guys in foul trouble.”

(On the bench’s performance)
“That’s the way we played all year. The entire season we’ve been a team where our bench has been pretty good and just the energy that they gave us. You look at the stat sheet and Lou (Amundson)’s 19 minutes – you don’t see a whole lot on the stat sheet, but he means so much to us from the standpoint of what he gives us from an energy standpoint – a couple of blocked shots here, a couple of good plays there. But I thought the second unit did a good job of getting themselves in the open court and then when we do that with Channing and JD out there and they make a couple of three-point shots for us, that makes all the difference in the world.”

(On rebounding and defense)
“When the game is open court, then we can use our quickness and our athleticism to get to the ball. They’re so long and so big and Camby and those guys just suck everything up on the boards when you’re in a stagnant-type offense. We just tried to open up the floor and get them moving and now when the ball goes up there, we can use our quickness to try and beat them to the ball. I thought we did a good job with that – 15 offensive rebounds is key for us. They ended up shooting 46 percent, but for most of the game they were in the 53 percent range – but I thought we did a great job. We gave up 19 in the second and 19 in the third and that’s pretty good defense against these guys.”

(On having a breakout game)
“It feels good to get my rhythm going better. Early on in this series we didn’t have many good looks and today I thought I had a lot of wide open looks starting in transition with Steve (Nash) finding me. I thought that was key for me to get going early and to continue getting good shots. Once you play a team over and over you start to see how they’re going to play you and my teammates just found me.”

(On his offensive rhythm)
“After you get the first one you have to get into the offense. You don’t want to rush it or force it – I don’t think any of my missed threes today were rushed or forced – they were all good looks. I’m glad I made it, because you want to be a part of this team and I’m here to play defense but I’m also here to hit shots and I did that today.”

(On what sparked the difference in his breakout game)
“The looks I don’t think were as different – I think it was just overall the team and how we were playing. Even though they got off to a great start, that first group got in there and established how we were going to play – pushed the tempo of the game. And when I get in there, it really helps the faster we go, especially on the offensive glass and just being able to move around and get into a rhythm that way. And today I was just like, ‘you know, if shots go in, shots go in.’ It wasn’t something I was really focused on, it was more like lets get on the board, play some good defense and stuff was going to come your way – you just had to be patient, have your feet set and let it ride.”

(On what he learned from film given to him of his previous games where he was successful)
“I just let it ride. I saw my space was kind of bad in the first games and my feet weren’t set like they usually are and in this game I just tried to make sure my feet were set and I was ready to go. It didn’t hurt I was on the glass early and some nights the ball comes your way and tonight it came my way. I missed a couple of those at the beginning of the game and in the fourth quarter and that’s stuff I’ve got to work on. Defensively, I felt like we were trapping and getting out like that – that also helps with the pace of the game.”

(On whether he was hesitating in previous games)
“It wasn’t so much hesitating it was just my mind was thinking, ‘OK, that guy is going to be open,’ – I was already kind of pre-determining what I was going to do. That’s not hesitating, I could be honest, if I go 0-for-10, I could care less – it’s not going to happen twice. That’s how I feel every time I go out there that it’s only going to take one shot for me to get hot. And so I think those other games I looked at it and it was just little things I needed to change up and just relax and go out there and just make clear cuts, either pass, shoot, screen and roll and things like that.”

· The Suns improved to 9-8 (.529) all-time in Game 5 of a best-of-seven series tied 2-2. Phoenix has won seven of eight best-of-seven series tied 2-2 in which it has won Game 5.

· Phoenix has the numbers on its side: In NBA playoff history, in a best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, the team that wins Game 5 has won 83.4 percent of those series (126-25 record). Tonight’s win improved the home team to 116-36 (.763) in Game 5s in NBA postseason history.

· Phoenix moved within one win of their first playoff series victory since the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs vs. LA Lakers.

· The Suns took a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series for the first time since the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals vs. LA Clippers, a series won by the Suns in seven games. That game was a 125-118 double-overtime epic at US Airways Center won by the Suns after RAJA BELL sent the game to a second overtime on a last-second, game-tying three-pointer.

· The Suns improved to 10-0 in their last 10 games following a loss, including a 2-0 in 2010 playoffs. Including the regular season, Phoenix has not lost consecutive games since Jan. 25-26.

· Phoenix is the first top-four seed in the Western Conference to win three games in a series this postseason. The other top three teams in the Western Conference (LA Lakers, Dallas, Denver) are a combined 4-8 (.333) in their respective series.


In the Suns THREE wins in the series, they have not trailed for a single second-half second. Phoenix has won three games in this series by an average margin of 22.3 points, including a 19-point victory tonight. The Suns now own an NBA-high tying THREE double-digit victories in the 2010 NBA Playoffs (Cleveland).

Suns reserves CHANNING FRYE (sixth-best three-point percentage in the NBA, fourth-most three-point makes during the regular season) and JARED DUDLEY (fourth-best three-point percentage in the NBA during the regular season, third-most makes of any NBA reserve) entered Game 5 a combined 6-of-33 (.182) from long range in the series. Tonight, the two combined to shoot 8-of-14 (.571) from long range and make more three-pointers than the entire Blazer team (8-7).


· DOUBLE-DIGIT DEFICITS: Facing their FIRST double-digit deficit of the 2010 playoffs and their first overall since April 9 at Oklahoma City, the Suns responded with their 12th double-digit comeback of the season, including their SEVENTH at home (includes regular season). The Suns’ comeback was tied for the SECOND-highest deficit overcome in the 2010 NBA Playoffs (15, San Antonio vs. Dallas, Game 4; 14, Boston vs. Miami, Game 1).

· HALFTIME PREDICTOR: For the FIFTH time in FIVE series games, the team that led at halftime won. Phoenix led 57-47 at half. The Suns have averaged 62.0 first-half points in three victories and 46.5 first-half points in two losses.

· BENCH COMPARISON: The Suns bench is now averaging 43.7 points at home (Games 1, 2, 5) compared to 21.5 points on the road in this series (Games 3 and 4). Tonight Suns reserves outscored their Portland counterparts 55-23 led by a game-high and career playoff-high 20 points from CHANNING FRYE. It was his first career postseason 20-point effort and his first overall since March 3.

· BOTTOM OF THE BOX SCORE: Phoenix owned a combined +31 advantage in Points in the Paint (40-28), Second Chance Points (22-14) and Fastbreak Points (17-6).

· For the FOURTH time in his career, STEVE NASH made NINE or more free throws without a miss in a playoff game joining a career-high 13-of-13 on May 4, 2006 at LA Lakers; 10-of-10 on April 28, 2002, Dallas at Minnesota; 9-of-9 on June 1, 2006 at Dallas. NASH finished a perfect 9-of-9 from the line tonight.

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