Quantcast 2010 Phoenix Suns: Suns vs Trailblazers

 

Western Conference Playoffs First Round - Game 3

(3) Phoenix 108, (6) Portland 89 - Suns lead series, 2-1

 

Remember the momentum and confidence Portland possessed after stealing Game 1 of this Western Conference first round series on the road?

It's long gone now.

The short-handed Trail Blazers - without Brandon Roy for the series and missing multiple other performers due to injuries suffered much earlier in the season - finally hit a wall against the Phoenix Suns. A team that has battled so valiantly in the face of so many on-court hardships couldn't compete at a high level on Thursday night at the Rose Garden. Portland coach Nate McMillan has squeezed as much out of his team this year as he possibly can, but in Game 3 of this best-of-seven encounter, the tank simply ran dry.

 

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This was just one of those nights when nothing went right for the home team, and given its utter lack of depth, that shouldn't be extraordinarily surprising. The seven-player rotation being used by McMillan did not represent this team's best and most reliable set of options, and that meant that there was simply no margin for error. Sure enough, a bunch of players who overachieved in Roy's absence - and without big men Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla as well - couldn't produce the consistency needed to keep up with the third-seeded Suns. Guard Rudy Fernandez got shut out in the first half. Nic Batum hit only 1 of 4 shots before leaving the game with an injury in the second quarter. Andre Miller was off his game, and so was Marcus Camby. All told, Portland hit just 14 field goal attempts in the first half, shooting under 38 percent while Phoenix sizzled at 57 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers were simply flat as a tortilla, and the Suns took advantage.

 

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Jason Richardson (21 points) and Amare Stoudemire (13) combined to score almost as many first-half points as the entire Portland team (37). The Suns hit 25 of 44 first-half shots and rolled to a 66-37 bulge at halftime. The second half was just a formality, as this game seemed like one prolonged psychological release point for the Blazers, who trail in the series but figure to be a mentally refreshed bunch when Game 4 rolls around on Saturday.

There is a well-known children's story called "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day." That day arrived for the Portland Trail Blazers. The key for them is to make sure this kind of day doesn't happen again in this series.

 

 

By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Senior Staff Writer


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