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The Phoenix Suns led the Portland Trail Blazers from horn to horn, using a balanced attack to keep the defense off-balance all night.
The Blazers were led in scoring by Damian Lillard (15 points, 5 assists), Meyers Leonard (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Nicolas Batum (14 points), but the team struggled at both ends all night. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with a double-double, but somehow wasn't a factor. For the rookies, Lillard's first half was forgettable, Meyers Leonard was solid and scrappy in his first start, and Joel Freeland reminded us why he could be a sleeper this season. There was no progress in the vaunted "Ammo vs. Luke" discussion.
For further thoughts on the game, check out Dave's analysis.
It was a slow start for the Blazers, as they shot 29% (off contested jumpers) while Phoenix jumped to an 8 point lead. Then 11. Portland looked flustered on offense, and the Suns had no problem taking advantage. They led by 14 after one.
Luke Babbitt opened the second quarter with a three-pointer against Phoenix's bench. Leonard and a hard-working Coby Karl cut the Suns lead back to single digits. When their lead reached 6, Phoenix appreciated the official timeout. It was after that timeout that we all learned, the Suns love uncontested three's. Joel Freeland, getting time with some starters, showed some nice flashes at both ends and helped the Blazers stay within 7 at the half.
The third quarter was a your classic nondescript preseason quarter. Lillard got on the board, and the Blazers kept it within single digits for most of the quarter, but Phoenix made a late run for a 15 point lead.
Damian heated up in the fourth quarter, scoring six straight points to cut the deficit back to single digits. However, just like that, a 7-0 Phoenix run ended any hopes of a Blazer comeback. The young guys kept the final score respectable in garbage time.
The box score is here. Stay tuned for Dave's analysis of tonight's game, and we'll keep you updated with all of the weekend's news. The next game is Monday against the Sacramento Kings. It will not be televised! -- Tim