This was the exact opposite of what you want to see on opening night. The assumed-lottery-bound Phoenix Suns dominated the Portland Trail Blazers nearly all night, easily pulling away for their first victory of the season. The Blazers looked ill-prepared for Phoenix's defense, and their offense had an unexpectedly potent night against Portland's porous D. Miles Plumlee made the Blazers look foolish all night. And after all the preseason rebounding talk, the Gortat-less Suns outrebounded Portland as well. Let the gnashing of the teeth begin.
Damian Lillard (32 points, but only 2 assists) led the Blazers, with support from LaMarcus Aldridge (28 points, but only 4 rebounds). Don't ask about anyone else if you expect an upbeat response. Nicolas Batum's 4 turnovers were haunting despite his 13 boards, and Robin Lopez's 3 points and 2 rebounds in 34 minutes against his former team are best forgotten.
First Quarter: Aldridge scored the first two points of the game. And then everything went "boom". Phoenix turned up the defense, and hit nearly all their shots (helped by transition buckets) to take a quick 25-12 lead. It didn't get better from there. Phoenix simply outplayed the Blazers at both ends, leaving Portland staring at yet another first-quarter deficit to climb out of.
Phoenix 30, Blazers 16
This is depressing.
We are getting blown out by the Suns.
Second Quarter: More of the same. Phoenix pushed the lead to 16 before the Blazers tried to crawl back into the game. However, the Suns simply seemed to step on the Blazers' backs and hold them down. Portland's defense could not contain the mighty Suns offense, and the Blazers couldn't make anything happen at the offensive end. Finally, Phoenix's unsustainably hot shooting cooled off. Late in the quarter, Lillard simply took over. He hit three straight three-pointers to cut the deficit to four, leaving the Phoenix crowd exclaiming, "WHOA!" as the three-pointers swished.
Phoenix 50, Portland 46.
Why did that quarter have to end? Dame was just getting hot.
Third Quarter: The Blazers came out of the locker room and quickly cut the lead to one... and that was as close as it got. They give up consecutive open three-pointers from the Suns, followed by more easy buckets in transition, leading to 12 straight points and a 13 point lead overall. Phoenix simply owned the Blazers at both ends, as their defense prevented any easy Portland shots, and their offense was clicking, with even their misses bouncing into the bucket.
Phoenix 81, Portland 69
Well, [being down by] twelve isn't nearly as bad as seventeen.
by T Darkstar
> Opening night against the Suns, everybody!
> by Cablinasian
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers attempt yet another opening night comeback. But turnovers betrayed them, and they couldn't secure rebounds. Lillard did everything in his power to pull out a victory, but Phoenix easily held on for the opening night win. Portland headed to the locker room, to prepare their basketball-player outfits for Halloween trick-or-treating.
Stay tuned for Dave's first recap of the season, as well as Ben's coverage tomorrow. The next Blazer game is Friday night in Denver. -- Tim