LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers in scoring with 24 points, but just 4 rebounds, with support from cold-shooting Nicolas Batum (15 points, 5 assists) and Damian Lillard (16 points, just 1 assist). Robin Lopez had a double-double with 10 points and rebounds.
First Quarter: Remember when the Blazers forgot to come out of the locker room, and the Suns dominated them on opening night? The Blazers remembered, too. With strong passing and solid defense, they jumped ahead to a 13-6 lead halfway through the quarter. The Bench came in and continued the pressure, as the Suns struggled to get easy shots. Phoenix had a chance to close the gap late, but a Batum steal and dunk on the break took care of business.
Portland 32, Phoenix 21
This is a much better start than last time we played in Phoenix
Second Quarter: The quarter opened with a Blazer passing display so pretty, you'd think you were watching the 1991 Blazers if it wasn't for high definition. It led to a Mo Williams three-pointer.
That's where the fun part of this game ended.
Suddenly the Suns got hot from downtown against the Blazer bench. Goran Dragic and former Blazer Channing Frye scored nearly all the points in a huge Phoenix run, cutting a 16 point lead to 2 in five minutes. That brought the Suns alive, as they suddenly woke up and their energy took over the game, hitting non-stop three-pointers to gain the lead with 3 minutes left in the half. The Blazers went cold, and the Suns took control, completing a crazy-hot 40 point quarter before they headed to the locker room.
This was a rough quarter to watch for Blazer fans. It was the one-quarter version of opening night in Phoenix. By halftime, Dragic had burned the Blazers' defense for 19 points and 8 assists.
Phoenix 61, Phoenix 58
How to stop Goran Dragic:
1. Put Batum on him
2. Double team him (not recommended)
3. Someone get him in foul trouble
4. Mo Williams does something with his head
by Blazing Chargers
Third Quarter: Frye burned the Blazers for another three-pointer to open the quarter, an ominous sign while the Blazers continued to miss shots. Soon the Blazers still hadn't scored in the quarter, were down 9, and making sloppy mistakes all over. The Suns missed a free throw, only for the Blazers to allow them the offensive rebound, and a three-pointer. Portland called timeout down 13, after giving up 10 straight points to open the quarter. Matthews finally hit a three, only for Phoenix to swish a highly-contested three at the other end. The Blazers pulled down their first rebound almost six minutes into the quarter. The Blazers' porous defense made the Suns look like the Nash/Amare team of the 2000's. It was six minutes of unmitigated disaster.
No matter what Portland did on defense, Phoenix's shots just kept swishing. And they packed the middle on defense, grabbing every one of Portland's plentiful missed shots. The Blazers looked frustrated and couldn't get anything started. Portland finally got a few stops to close the gap to 7, but Phoenix called timeout and promptly jumped ahead by 12 again. Portland built themselves a hill to climb if they want to keep their winning streak alive.
Phoenix 90, Portland 76
Fourth Quarter: Just like the third quarter, the fourth opened with a wide-open Frye three-pointer. As the Blazers tried to make a run, Lillard saved a ball from going out of bounds... and accidentally set up a Suns fast-break for two points. Portland couldn't mount a run, as each good shot was undone by a Suns team shooting so hot, it represented their name. Soon, the bench came in to finish off a rough loss for Portland after such a nice streak.
The tired Blazers finally get a break in their schedule, and a few nights of rest at home. They don't play again until Sunday, in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! We had over 2,500 tonight alone. 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: