10 Points on Round 1, Game 5

Suns.com team members Dan Hilton and Daniel Banks join forces to bring you ten random points about Game 2 of the Suns vs Trailblazers playoff series.

Dan Hilton
Positive Contribution

When the Blazers went up 9-0 and then 23-9 early in the first quarter, you could sense the crowd getting nervous. Then Jared Dudley and Channing Frye came into the game and changed everything. Usually when you look at the +/- stat (the stat that shows whether a player's team gained or lost points while he was on the court), you'll see players with +20 or so. Dudley ended the game with a +36 and Frye wasn't too far behind with +32. Stoudemire was the next closest to them with +18. I think we can safely say that Frye and Dudley were the catalysts to a win tonight.

Daniel Banks
The best things in life are free (throws).

The Suns outscored the Blazers by 12 points in Game 5 (29-17) and they missed only three from the stripe the entire night. Steve Nash earned the most trips going 9-for-9. And Goran and STAT each went 5-of-6. The attempts were spread out around the lineup which indicates how aggressive the Suns were Monday night.

Dan Hilton
Speeding up the game

Phoenix had 17 fast break points in Monday's game. When the Suns have their opponents back on their heels, they become a really hard team to beat. Teams begin to shoot more outside shots just to get something going, which leads to more fast break points and causes the team to run even faster - and score more fast break points.

Daniel Banks
It was a special night for everyone in the building.

There's is just something about watching playoff basketball live. The electricity in the building was solar-powered and it didn't stop when the Suns left the court.

While the Suns were rolling in the second half, a fan won a chance to take a three-point shot for big money during a timeout. It seemed everything was going Phoenix's way and he cashed in on the good vibes banking in his attempt and taking home $7,777.

Dan Hilton
Big leads equal more rest

Steve Nash only played 27 minutes in the game. Grant Hill played 20. Jason Richardson was able to get to almost 29 minutes. Steve Nash said he didn't think the extra rest would really help that much since the team now has a couple days off. But it does allow the younger bench players to get more playoff experience - and that can only be a good thing. Now we'll be able to see if that experience will translate into playing well in a hostile arena with fans of the other team cheering against them.

Daniel Banks
Our rebounding was offensive.

The Suns outrebounded their opponent 41-29 on Monday and a lot of the damage was done on the offensive end where the Suns had a 15-9 advantage on boards leading to valuable second chance points.

Dan Hilton
Home, sweet home

The Portland fans are loud. When Brandon Roy came back in Game 4, I thought their building might fall down from their yelling. But our fans tried to play a little "Anything you can do, we can do better" and I think they may have won that battle. Granted, it was quiet in the first few minutes when the team was down by 14. But as the team started coming back and then took the lead for good, this place was rocking. And it stayed loud throughout the game despite the fact that the outcome was determined by the end of the third quarter.

Daniel Banks
The Blazers need to be mad about something.

After watching the past five games, it's clear that several of the Blazers are motivated by emotion and play with a chip on their shoulder. Whether it's being disrespected, shoved, or well-defended their body language betrays their mood.

For example, in the second half, Martell Webster took an awkward tumble over the back of Leandro Barbosa. LB had backed under the basket and inadvertently in the landing area of Webster causing the fall and picking up a foul. Leandro immediately helped Webster up and began apologizing but Martell would have none of it. He rejected the apology and LB was left bewildered. If the Suns return with the same level of effort in Game 6, Martell will have a long summer to calm down.

Dan Hilton
Finish them

Being up three games to two in a 7-game series is a much nicer place to be than being down. It means you have two chances to try and put your opponent away. That knowledge has to be comforting to the Suns players as they head back to Portland. But anything can happen in a game 7. As we saw tonight, Portland can get a big lead quickly. And when the series is on the line, they most likely won't give it up so easily. So Phoenix needs to come out with the determination to put the Blazers away quickly and not rely on that buffer.

Daniel Banks
Defense won Game 5.

One of Channing Frye's best moments of the season did not come behind the three-point line.

The Blazers were down but not out with 4:17 left in the third quarter. Down by 10, they called a play designed for Brandon Roy along the baseline. After a couple of picks in the paint Roy darted into the open and got the ball but Channing Frye was right on his heels. He and Jason Richardson trapped Brandon and forced a timeout and frustrated Portland's plans. By the end of the quarter the Suns lead was up to 18 points.

That's the kind of adjustment and defensive execution that can carry a team... all the way into June.