The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (18 points, 7 rebounds), Robin Lopez (18 points, 13 rebounds), Nicolas Batum (13 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) and Damian Lillard (15 points, 7 assists). But they gave up 30+ point games to both Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green.
Also, a can't-miss article was posted during tonight's game, so don't miss it: Sam Tongue's perspective on his first game as member of the media, during the Blazers' visit to Chicago.
First Half: Phoenix was yet again ready to play Portland, as they confounded them on defense, and took advantage of the lanes on offense. The only player they had no answer for was Lopez, who held down the lane reasonably successfully when Phoenix wasn't in transition. The Suns took a 7 point lead, but spent most of the half batting back Portland's comebacks. However, the Blazers picked up the defense late, and the Suns stopped scoring. Portland took advantage for a 3 point lead at halftime.
Portland 54, Phoenix 51
Second Half: Portland jumped ahead by double digits while shutting down the Suns' attack, but it couldn't last, as a few unlucky sequences led to Phoenix cutting the lead to 5 points. From there, both teams played a game of "who can't make a bucket" for multiple minutes until Goran Dragic cut the lead to 3 with free throws. A poor ref call took the Blazers out of their game, and they gave up 4 quick points late to keep Phoenix within 1 after three. They took the lead on the opening possession of the fourth, as the Blazer bench struggled to keep with Phoenix's defensive intensity and athleticism. The Suns opened the fourth with 7 quick points to take a 6 point lead.
Out of a timeout, Lillard promptly hit a three-pointer to cut the Suns lead in half, but at the end he fouled on a three-pointer to give the points right back. Stotts brought the Blazer starters back in, but it didn't help as Phoenix built the lead to 7 again, then 10 on another Green three-pointer, then 12 on free throws. It was a complete disaster for the Blazers, who couldn't even get a quality shot. Lillard got to the line, but missed two free throws, and the Blazer defense allowed a Dragic layup at the other end as the fans howled at the home team.
The Blazers made a short run to cut the deficit to 10 with 4 minutes left, but Portland gave up two consecutive offensive rebounds, then a three-pointer to the Suns, followed by a 24 second violation of their own, as the fans growled out loud. After Portland failed to grab a rebound yet again, a Gerald Green jumper finished them off. The Blazers looked nothing like a team ready for the playoffs as they were outplayed at both ends in the second half.
Another day off for the Blazers, who have no more back-to-back games this season. Sunday evening, the New Orleans Pelicans are in town.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night:
Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! As always, here are the most popular comments, based on the number of Rec's from their fellow fans: