The Blazers were led by Thomas Robinson (15 points, 8 rebounds, and a huge put-back dunk) while being hurt by his free-throw shooting (3-9 FT's). LaMarcus Aldridge (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (11 points, 8 assists) struggled all night, as did Nicolas Batum (9 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists) and Wesley Matthews (11 points including a huge late three-pointer). Robin Lopez had a solid night with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
First Half: This game was much closer than opening night, but it didn't make the first half any less brutal. Phoenix came in with a defensive game plan and ran it nicely, taking the Blazers out of their element by preventing three-pointers. But despite that, the Blazers could have easily pulled away. But they simply could not make the easiest shots. At one point, Aldridge thumped a dunk off the front of the rim. It was easily one of the most frustrating first halves in the past full season. Dorell Wright finally hit a three pointer, and late in the half Lillard and Aldridge finally hit shots. Despite all this, the Blazers led for a few points for much of the half, but fell behind at the end.
Phoenix 43, Portland 41
We aint got no alibi we UGLY
Third Quarter: More of the same, as the Blazers came out energized, but the Phoenix defense held them to poor shot attempts. And the rare times they had good shots (such as an open Matthews three, and an Aldridge hook on the rebound), they couldn't get them to fall. Soon, the shooting was so bad, they air-balled three-pointers. And despite all this, Phoenix struggled to take a 5 point lead. Portland tried to come back (from a 5 point deficit!) but could not do so, betrayed by shooting and turnovers. Late in the quarter, Phoenix converted a jump ball into a layup on the break (?!), but Williams somehow banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to give fans some hope.
Phoenix 68, Portland 62
Haha, this is one of the worst games I've ever seen.
by hoodieNation (Batum and Williams air-balled three-pointers)
Fourth Quarter. A broken play led to a Thomas Robinson dunk to start the quarter, and he followed it up with a steal at the other end. The Blazers quickly cut the deficit to one. However, Phoenix caught fire from three, pushing the lead back to 8. Meanwhile, Williams and Goran Dragic collided heads at a scramble for the ball, causing them both to collapse in a heap. There was no foul. While they were on the ground, Phoenix ran down court and hit a three-pointer. The term "frustrating" would be an understatement for Blazer fans at this point. They woke up when Robinson had a monster dunk on an offensive rebound (Seen here!), followed by a Matthews three-pointer to force a Phoenix timeout. But that gave the Blazers a chance to bring Lillard in... who scored 4 straight points to give the Blazers the lead. However, Robinson turned the ball over to give the Suns the lead again.
As we passed the halfway point, Aldridge's turnaround reappeared to put the Blazers ahead again, leading to the teams repeatedly taking the lead. Robinsons's two missed free throws stopped that streak, allowing the hot-shooting Suns to take a lead. That led to the Suns intentionally fouling Robinson, who only hit one of two. The Suns kept a two point lead as the clock ticked under three minutes. Eric Bledsoe gave the Suns a 4 point lead, but a Matthews fadeaway three-pointer cut the deficit back to one. An offensive foul on the Suns got the crowd excited, but not as much as the Lopez tip-in that gave the Blazers the lead with 90 seconds left. On the next Suns possession, every break went their way, including two offensive rebounds. That burned the Blazers, as a Suns layup gave them the lead. LaMarcus missed, and the Suns ran the clock down, ending with a Lopez block.
The Blazers got the ball back with 11 seconds left, down by one. They gave Lillard the ball... who broke down the Phoenix defense and hit a layup with 6 seconds left! Phoenix then had the ball with time to win. They got it to Bledsoe... who missed a layup, but tipped by Phoenix, and it missed, but Phoenix got the rebound again... and it missed again! Aldridge fell to the ground with the ball, smiling, and the crowd celebrated the hardest-fought victory of the season.
[It went] like this:
Yes, no, no, no, we’ll take it!
Ben and Dave will have much more later tonight. The Blazers get a night off to travel, and are back in action Friday, a 4:30 PST game in Boston. And prepare in advance, Sunday's game is at 10:00am!
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs: