On a night where they looked a step slow from the opening tip, the Portland Trail Blazers were utterly demolished on national TV by the Phoenix Suns 102-77. This is a game where you would previously burn the tape. But now, take that DVR hard drive and find a super-magnet.
The Blazers had no leaders tonight, as every rotation player struggled. Gerald Wallace finished with 1 point, 2 rebounds and 4 turnovers, Wesley Matthews added an invisible 8 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 with 7 rebounds.
In the first quarter, the Blazers seemed to forget they were playing professional basketball. Random fumbles, missed layups, non-existent defense. Steve Nash absolutely torched the Blazers, looking young and spry. It added up to an awful quarter and an 11 point deficit.
Things didn't get any better as the second quarter, as the Blazers found a way to fall behind further: No offensive rebounding, slipping on the break, leaving Suns players wide open. It was a recipe for disaster, and the Blazers cooked it up in a microwave. A Jamal Crawford technical foul led to a 15 point Phoenix lead as the Blazers scored 34 points in the first half. The city of Portland suddenly wished this game was being televised on TNT, with the first game in triple overtime.
The Blazers come out of halftime pushing for a comeback, and the Suns were happy to oblige, turning the ball over 4 times in 2 minutes. But the Blazers only sliced the lead to 12. After a few good plays by Phoenix, the lead was 20. Then 24. The Blazer starters had nothing in the tank, and looked slow at both ends. Desperate for energy, Nate brought in Nolan Smith, to no effect. By the end of the third, the game was essentially over.
The fourth quarter started with a Crawford travel, then an offensive foul, which did not bode well. With 10 minutes left, Elliot Williams checked in. Soon after, the rest of the bench joined him, and that was all she wrote. This is one night the Blazers will strive to forget. Until Nate shows them the video.
The box score is here, if you like horror stories. The Blazers will head home for a couple nights in their own beds, and will be back in action Sunday, against Cleveland. -- Tim