Portland Trail Blazers (50-32 SU, 45-35-2 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU, 48-32-2 ATS), 10:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, April 20, 2010, US Airways Center, Phoenix, Ariz. TV: NBA TV
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Trail Blazers +8.5/Suns -8.5
Without their star Brandon Roy, the Portland Trail Blazers upset the Phoenix Suns on the road in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Blazers put together a team effort and made the fast-breaking Suns play a half-court game. Now, the Suns almost have to win Game 2 at home. If not, they will be trailing 2-0 going to Portland.
With Roy out for the first round of the playoffs with a sore right knee, other guys on the Blazers had to really step up for their team to win. And indeed they did, as the Blazers won the game, 105-100. Andre Miller stepped up big time with 31 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He made all of the big plays down the stretch. LaMarcus Aldridge did miss 12 shots (8-for-20) but he scored 22 points. He also only grabbed three rebounds, so there is a lot of room for improvement for Aldridge. He has to help out on the boards and he has to knock down his open mid-range jumpers for the Blazers to continue winning. Nicolas Batum scored 18 points, including a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to help seal the victory. Marcus Camby only scored four points but he was a beast on the boards with 17 rebounds. He did, however, miss a wide open fast break dunk in the final minute of the game that almost cost his team. Jerryd Bayless also stepped up with 18 points off the bench.
Steve Nash led the Suns with 25 points and nine assists. Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and eight rebounds, Jason Richardson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Channing Frye had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Leandro Barbosa scored 13 points. The Suns were forced to play a half-court game and they struggled at times against the Blazers defense. Stoudemire is going to have to be more of a post presence in Game 2 for the Suns to win the game. He has to dominate in the post to force double-teams and kick out for open 3-pointers. The Suns usually have three or four very good 3-point shooters on the floor at a time, but they need to force double-teams so that they can move the ball to the open shooter.
In Game 1, the Blazers shot 47 percent from the field and 6-for-17 from 3-point range. The Suns shot 42 percent from the field and 11-for-32 on 3-pointers. The Suns held the slight lead in rebounding and the Blazers held the slight lead in turnovers.
The Suns had trouble with the Blazers during the regular season as well, losing two of three to them. The Blazers won 105-102 in Portland on December 17. Then, Portland won 108-101 in Phoenix on February 10. In the third meeting, on March 21, the Suns got their only win against the Blazers this season, 93-87.
The Blazers have the advantage down low with Aldridge and Camby. Stoudemire is the only legitimate post player for the Suns. Both teams are very good at defending around the basket with help defense. That help defense is what allowed Aldridge to get 20 shot attempts in Game 1, but he only made eight of them. He has to shoot better for the Blazers to win again. As long as the Blazers play solid defense and stay in the game, they have a chance to win in the end if they hit the timely shots like they hit in Game 1. The Suns need Nash and Stoudemire to dominate for the Suns to even this series up.
The Blazers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 playoff games as an underdog, 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game, 4-1 ATS in their last five conference quarterfinals games, and 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine road games. The Suns are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss, 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine home games, 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games as a home favorite, 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game, 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games as a favorite, and 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games on one day rest.
The Blazers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six meetings against the Suns. The favorite is 18-7-2 ATS in the last 27 meetings between these teams, and the home team is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: Tonight’s line is very strange. Porltand has beaten Phoenix 5 out of the last 6 times these teams have met and the one loss was by 8 points. There is no indication that Portland should lose by +8.5 points. Take the Blazers to cover and possibly win this game straight up.