(Christian Petersen/NBAE/Getty Images)

One of the most solemn articles of NBA faith is that the key to any playoff series is “adjustment”, or, in non-technical terms, what changes the loser of the previous game can make to turn things around.

So what “adjustments” did Coach Alvan and the Suns make to engineer a monster 34-point turnaround in Game Two?

Actually, while not discounting the significance of a couple of X and O moves, I’d have to say the biggest adjustment was an attitude.  One in which the Suns went from passive-aggressive on offense to aggressive-aggressive.

The biggest benefit of this was that the Blazers didn’t have nearly as many chances to get into the half court defense that so effectively dictated the tempo in Game One. This time the Suns’ offense dictated the tempo, and when that happens very few teams can hang with them — especially since they’ve added solid defense to their repertoire.

As far as physical adjustments, the biggest one was putting Grant Hill on Andre Miller, a move that not only worked well defensively, but also freed up Jason Richardson at the other end, and J.R. responded with 29 points, 15 in the first period when the Suns were doing all the all-important tempo-setting that put them back on course.

The 37-year-old Hill, whose multiple talents are much underappreciated, can handle almost any role at either end of the court, and last night he not only played a key role in holding Miller, who torched the Suns for 31 Sunday, to 12, but also hit his first 10 shots. And 36-year-old Steve Nash had 16 assists in 29 minutes.

You go, Geezers!

“Miller is very difficult to guard,” said Alvan, “and we thought Grant’s length might bother him a little bit. We played him a step back and tried to make him settle for outside shots, but his first step is so good he still managed to get to the basket a few times.”

The Suns also dominated the boards, held the Blazers to 38 per cent shooting, and got 18 points and some good pass work out of the post from Amare Stoudemire.

So what does this rout change in the grand scheme of things. Well, one thing it DOESN’T change is the fact the Blazers are still up a break as the series shifts to Portland for the next two games.

But it does underscore just how many more weapons the Suns have, and how many more ways they have to beat you than have the injury-depleted Blazers (who may have lost yet another starter when Nicolas Batum left the game with a shoulder injury in the third period).

I’m not a big believer in momentum, but I do have a lot of faith in a talent edge, especially when it’s blended into the kind of chemistry and sense of mission these Suns clearly have.

The bottom line: I still liked their chances a ton after Game One, and I certainly didn’t see anything to change my mind last night. And I don’t mean just in this series.

  • Colby Morse

    Game two did not surprise me (unfortunatly!). I was hoping that the Blazers really did mean that they wanted to be greedy and take game two, but, as is human nature after a big win, they didn’t come out with anything close to the intensity needed to put doubt in the Suns at the begining of the game. And when the Suns get rolling, their confidence just explodes, and if you aren’t careful, they can absolutly bury a team quick, as the Blazers found out! The Suns are a team you have to punch in the face at the get-go, if you don’t, and let them start free-wheeling, Tuesday night is what will happen. I Can’t wait for game three, the P.A announcer at the Rose Garden won’t have to implore the fans to cheer, like the P.A announcer at U.s Airlines arena did, the fans in Portland are always incredible! By far the best in the NBA. My predictiton has not changed; Blazers in six.


    Two more to go Sir Joe. Impressive first half, JRich was incredible. Got a little ugly in the 3rd but Aldridge initiated the Amare response. Chalk up the Portland mini comeback to “we have this one in the bag,” goodbye focas. When Steve started to ball handle to long again you knew it would tighten a little but they got interested again and finished strong. Suns just have to play their first half style and this is a hard fought but not that difficult series. I have a strong feeling were going to be seeing the Spurs sometime soon.


    You would have thought a veteran team had learned to put away an opponent that is clinging to a thread of hope. Not our Suns, and they get pushed around and bullied in the process. Give it to Portland, they rolled the dice with Roy and slapped the Suns right in the kisser. Like Barkley says, the best team doesn’t always win. Wouldn’t you guess our Suns are trying to prove him right. Suns in 7 but it didn’t have to be this hard.


    Lakers go down Again!! Bucks destroy Atlanta. Spurs suddenly look like world beaters. Suns have alot of company in the lets not get these series done so fast dept.. Main question for Phoenix as we go to game five. Do you really have the motivation or desire to move on? Portland wins two games which were essentially mirror images of each other, they play we stand and watch. Suns decide to show a pulse, two dominate blowouts result. So, which way does this turn? Are the Suns finally going to make up their minds and be a contender or slip back to their past playoff form of almost, could be, should have heart breakers?


    Can it get any crazier than this? WOW!! I wouldn’t have believed it, Suns atually played at their lowest and highest level all in an opening quarter and then go on to win by double digits? Portland, you keep waking up the giant, thanks. If these Suns ever learned how to play like they have in the three wins on a consistent basis, they would be riding in the parade, with the trophy. P.S. Gentry has check mated McMillan. Game over.