The Trail Blazers earned some redemption on Thursday night, with a 106-96 win over the Phoenix Suns, who had defeated them back-to-back in their last two meetings. For the third time this season, Allen Crabbe tallied a career-high 18 points, extending his streak of double-digit scoring to six consecutive games. CSNNW gets Terry Stotts' comments on Crabbe, as well as Damian Lillard's analysis of guard-play in the victory.
I thought we were really active, really alert. Like I said, when you have a spacing lineup and a lot of penetrators and they use the whole clock, you really have to stay locked in. To force a team like that into shot clock violations isn’t easy to do because they do have a lot of guys who can create shots for themselves and for others.
How did you guys manage to slow Brandon Knight?
I don’t know. I think he had a poor shooting night, but I thought our guards—whoever was on him—did a nice job; I thought our switching was effective, and our bigs—I thought—did a pretty good job when they switched onto their perimeter guys, as far as limiting their penetration and contesting shots.
Can you describe Allen’s play, just once again, coming up big for you?
You know what? It shouldn’t be necessarily a story, I guess, because he’s been very consistent for us and he’s put a lot of hard work in. I like the confidence he’s playing with to come in a kind of get rolling right at the start. He’s used to coming in and being aggressive and being confident.
Were those two games earlier in the season on anybody’s mind going in?
No question. I mean, the first game here was probably our worst defeat in that we were never really in the game. I think the Detroit game we lost, you know, we lost the lead in the fourth quarter, but this game… they pretty much dominated us here and, at our place, they closed out the fourth quarter better than we did. Sothose two games, certainly back-to-back, were in the back of our mind.
They defended different tonight than they did the first two games. We didn’t have as many guard-on-big switches where they were just going away and letting us ISO the big. CJ [McCollum] hit a few shots, you know, in the last couple minutes I hit a few shots and was able to get separation.
Can you talk about how difficult that is for you guards to defend? I mean, you had to get your chest, like, up into [Jon] Leuer and stuff. What goes into it when you guys have to do that switch, for you guards?
You got to fight. I think when a big goes to post you up, they’re thinking, ‘It’s a small guy; I’m going to get him on my back, and I’m going to score on him,’ but nobody likes dealing with somebody underneath them. You know, just doing irritating stuff and agitating them. In the second half, that’s what we did. Every time I got down there I was pushing and shoving and fighting my way, so when they got the ball, they just had a five-second fight with me, so now it’s like they catching their breath. Each time that they did, they ended up passing the ball back out. So I think it came down to us just making it uncomfortable and fighting down there.
How did you guys do so well against Brandon Knight?
I just thought we pursued well over pick-and-rolls. I think our bigs did a great job stunting at them and making them makes passes and get off the ball, and he gave the ball up. They was in the game. I thought he made the right plays, but I think when you getting so much attention, it makes it harder, and I just thought we defended well against them.
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