Suns-Trail Blazers: Season series in review

Posted by on April 15th, 12:58 pm

A few weeks ago not even the best NBA analysts could pinpoint who would play who in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. But it is now officially playoff time, and after a flurry of big-time wins — Denver and Utah come to mind — the Phoenix Suns earned themselves one of the most favorable draws in the Western Conference: the Portland Trail Blazers.

There is no doubting that Portland is a tough ball club, but with a hobbled and questionable Brandon Roy, coupled with home-court advantage, the Suns have to like their chances in the first round. But before breaking down every facet of Nate McMillan’s team, take a look at how the season series shaped up:

Game 1: Trail Blazers win in Portland 105-102 on Dec. 17, 2009

A 35-point fourth quarter outburst and a 29-point performance from former Arizona Wildcat Jerryd Bayless led Portland back from a 15-point deficit to hand the Suns their sixth consecutive road loss. Jason Richardson was out, and Alando Tucker actually played nine whole minutes, so this wasn’t exactly the Suns team fans have grown to love.

These were the days when Channing Frye was the starting center, the Suns were still dealing with the TNT curse (the loss was their 17th straight on TNT) and they would surrender any lead at any time. This was the team that was on a downswing (3-6) after starting the season 14-3, and the injury-riddled Trail Blazers stole a win from the struggling Suns.

Game 2: Trail Blazers win 108-101 in Phoenix on Feb. 10

The Suns came into this contest riding high after winning five straight and enjoying four full days off, while Portland was on the other end of the spectrum, landing in Phoenix at 3 a.m. after a tough loss to the Thunder that was their sixth defeat in nine games.

But the Suns came out flat-footed, as Portland jumped out to a 60-44 halftime lead and never looked back, prompting Alvin Gentry to say, “We got our ass kicked, plain and simple.”

Portland torched the nets, shooting at a 58-percent clip, while converting 20 points off 15 Suns turnovers. Steve Blake went off for an uncharacteristic 20 points and 12 assists, while Brandon Roy was sidelined with a hamstring injury. So the Trail Blazers have already proven they can beat Phoenix without Roy, and in US Airways Center no less.

Game 3: Suns win 93-87 in Phoenix on March 21

Almost never do the Phoenix Suns shoot 38.8 percent and come away victorious, but they did exactly that against Portland in their last meeting. The Suns played Portland’s style, but got it done in the fourth quarter thanks to gritty defense and 10 big points from Jared Dudley.

They held Portland to 36.4 percent shooting, including 2-of-17 marksmanship from the three-point line, while limiting Roy to 8-of-25 shooting. This game gave the Suns hope that they can transform styles and outplay the Trail Blazers in a plethora of ways.

Suns-Trail Blazers first-round playoff schedule

Phoenix Suns-Portland Trail Blazers playoff schedule

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Playoffs · Portland Trail Blazers

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hayden // Apr 15, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I'm really scared of this team, I gotta say. They have heart, experience and FU factor for having been written off so long despite winning so much.

    I liked the Nuggets a lot more for the first round, but I guess this is a bellwether series. If the Suns can win it, they can go all the way with an easier schedule.

  • 2 Tyler // Apr 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This series might not make prime time, but I think it should be over in 5 anyway. I expect the Suns to really amp it up and get through the first round with ease. Even though the Suns have surpassed there goal of getting to the playoffs they really need to win this series. It would be a big disappointment for a team with so much talent and have such a great connection with one another.

  • 3 asani // Apr 16, 2010 at 2:25 am

    the suns better win this one in 4

  • 4 PDXGuy // Apr 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    BLAZERS STEAL ONE – IN PHOENIX!

    Sorry Phoenix, but it will be next year for you. Its amazing how many keep underestimating the Blazers talent and Nate's guidance.

    If the Blazers win the first round, who really can stop them?

  • 5 The Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers square off in Game 1 of their NBA playoff series| Valley of the Suns // Apr 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    [...] win games by controlling the tempo and playing at their own pace. That’s essentially how they took two out of three regular season games against the [...]

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