Blazers-Suns: Keys For a Portland Series Victory

T.Contributor IApril 25, 2010

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 24:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against Jarron Collins #20 of the Phoenix Suns during Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2010 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. The Blazers defeated the Suns 96-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Currently the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns are tied at 2-2 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Portland won the first game, lost the second and third, and won the fourth game aided by the triumphant return of the shooting guard Brandon Roy.

Now with the series heading back to Phoenix, the Blazers must find a way to win two more games and advance to the second round.


1. Win Game Five

The Blazers need to win two out of the next three in order to advance to the second round.

The schedule plays out with Game Five in Phoenix, Game Six in Portland, and Game Seven back on the Suns home court.

The road of least resistance for the Trail Blazers would be to win Game Five on the road and return to Portland for Game Six and win the series.

It would be a daunting task to drop Game Five and then have to pull of two straight wins including Game Seven at Phoenix.

The Blazers have the momentum right now after their win in Game Four and need to carry it into U.S. Airways Center for a victory in Game Five.


2. Play Physical

The most noticeable difference between the Blazers 96-87 win over the Suns in Game Four and the three games before that was the new found physical play by Portland.

The bodied up Amar'e Stoudemire, forced Steve Nash to commit six turnovers, and out-rebounded the Suns 45-39.

The game turned into a slow tempo, physical, and defensive game which plays right into the Trail Blazers hands.

Phoenix wanted nothing to do with the type of game Portland was forcing them to play.

The Suns averaged 15.6 fast break points per game in the regular season but were held to only four fast-break points in Game Four.

If the Blazers can continue to control the tempo and play physical, it pay huge dividends in this series.


3. Spread out the Offense

In Games Two and Three, the Sun would double team either LaMarcus Aldridge or Andre Miller whenever they touched the ball in the post.

This took the Blazers out of their offense because they were unable to kick it out to a shooter either because there were none on the floor or they weren't spread out enough.

But in Game Four, the Suns were unable to execute their double-team defensive strategy because Brandon Roy was back and Nicolas Batum looked healthy again.

The Blazers were able to spread out, give the ball to Aldridge in a isolation situation, and he either was able to get off a shot or pass the ball to set up a shot.

If the Blazers can execute these keys to the series, the outcome of the games should be in Portland's favor.

Most experts and fans of the NBA thought that Portland had no chance in this series.

But now with Roy back, the momentum in their favor, and the Blazers playing good basketball, no one should be surprised if Portland wins the series and ends up in the second round.