NBA Playoffs: Blazers need no excuses, take Game One over Suns

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Blazers_Suns.jpgNo Greg Oden. No Joel Przybilla. No Brandon Roy. No homecourt advantage.

No problem.

The Blazers shocked the Suns in Phoenix to take Game One 105-100. The Blazers were without Brandon Roy, but were simply willing to do whatever it took to get the job done. They crashed the glass on both sides of the floor, utterly dominating the Suns inside, especially Amar’e Stoudemire. They were disciplined to a ridiculous degree, constantly slowing the pace down and getting back on transition defense to cut the head off the Phoenix snake. They ran off every three, and on offense, simply executed in whatever way they had to.

The hero was Andre Miller, who wound up with a “I know this sounds crazy but the line doesn’t do him justice” game of 31 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. He worked over Jason Richardson, who had one of the worst games of his career defensively. Miller on the other hand did everything. Drives inside, pull-up jumpers, even nailing a three when Richardson became confused on a rotation and simply conceded a three. Conceded a three! In the playoffs! I don’t care if Ben Wallace is on the outside, you have to run that off! (Of course, Miller had only hit 16 3 pointers all year, but right now number 17 is looking pretty important.)

But it was that kind of night for both clubs.

The Suns’ bread and butter, the unstoppable play, the Nash-Amare pick and roll was completely shut down. Amar’e went scoreless for the entire 2nd quarter, and looked like he was just waiting on free agency to start. The Blazers ran the double front on him, constantly working to deny the pass of the pick and severely limiting him. On the other end, the Blazers created open looks all over the floor, and Nicolas Batum was simply brilliant.

And yet, despite all of that, Steve Nash had a chance to tie with four seconds left.

So now the Suns have to look at themselves and figure out how the Blazers, with no Brandon Roy, with no Greg Oden, with no homecourt advantage, have taken them into the hole.

The answer?

With no excuses.

Grizzlies’ James Ennis fouls out then hits half-court shot (video)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Against the Pacers last night, James Ennis missed all three of his 3-point attempts… that counted. And he makes this one after fouling out?

Mike Conley more than picked up the slack to lead the Grizzlies to victory.

Pelicans’ Dante Cunningham jumps on scorer’s table, Anthony Davis jumps on him (video)

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The Pelicans are effectively out of the playoff race, but Dante Cunningham and Anthony Davis are still competing — even if it looks a little silly.

That tone and a big game from DeMarcus Cousins (29 points, 16 rebounds, six assists) led to a 121-118 win over the Mavericks.

Goran Dragic puts alley-oop pass through rim (video)

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Goran Dragic is very good at alley-oops.

Too good.

With a “shot” like that falling, the Heat trounced the Knicks, 105-88.

Hawks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. kneed in the groin while defending 76ers (video)

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Since trading for him, the Hawks have gotten Tim Hardaway Jr. to buy in defensively.

After this help defense on 76ers center Richaun Holmes cost him dearly, I wouldn’t blame Hardaway if he gave up on the endeavor entirely.