Blazers Put Overlooking Suns ‘On Notice’
Of all eight first-round series in the NBA playoffs, most people figured the Suns/Trail Blazers would feature the least intrigue. Phoenix finished the season winning 14 of their last 16 games, a span that included a 10-game winning streak. Conversely, Portland went 4-3 in April and saw their best player, Brandon Roy, injure his knee in the third to last game of the season. Considering the amount of injuries the Blazers had overcome during the season (Oden, Pryzbilla, Batum, and Roy), I figured Portland would be competitive against Phoenix, just not win the series. Apparently the Suns felt the exact same way — and they played like it. Andre Miller put on a show dominating both Steve Nash and Jason Richardson, and he was supported by Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Marcus Camby in a 105-100 win at Phoenix Game 1. The upset win caught me and many other media members off-guard. Not to mention the Suns too.
“We might not have taken them as seriously as we should have,” admitted Stoudemire, speaking of a Blazers’ team that is going without their biggest star, the injured Brandon Roy.
“We’re definitely on notice now,” agreed Steve Nash. “We have to play better.”
It’s not often that you hear of teams overlooking opponents considering the “one game at a time” cliche we frequently hear. I respect their honesty and I’m expecting a much different outcome in Game 2 based on Phoenix’s epiphany. Andre Miller is a fine player but the chances of him exploding again offensively is slim; he had a 52 point outburst against Dallas in January but that was his only point total above 30 the entire season until Game 1. I just don’t see it happening again but at least we know the Blazers are game.