The Blazers started the game by giving nonstop freebies to Phoenix, and passing the ball into the crowd. They settled down afterward, and the bench spurred a run that eventually led to a Blazer lead. As the starters returned, Phoenix regained control and led at the half.
The starters continued to get outscored in the second half. The Suns lead quickly reached double-digits against the porous Blazer D, and Portland did them many favors at the other end as well. The Blazers' bench mounted the inevitable garbage time comeback that came up short. It also made the final score look much closer than typical for the rest of the game.
You know those worst-case scenarios and ugly predictions for the Blazers this season? This was a game that caused those thoughts to enter the back of your head. You knew that this is just preseason, and there's no reason for panic, but that didn't change the ugliness of their on-court play. Just a dreadful, dreadful game. But we have three weeks, and some returning personnel, before the season starts.
- Allen Crabbe showed why Nicolas Batum was so high on him in training camp, personally leading the first half comeback. He finished with 14 points.
- LaMarcus Aldridge returned, contributing 10 points, 6 rebounds and a block in 13 minutes.
- Despite four early fouls (one of many interesting moments with the referees), Damian Lillard is getting back into the offensive groove. He had a game-high 19 points.
- Joel Freeland and Will Barton both had a few nice moments, Joel with a power dunk and Will with a no-look pass.
- Thomas Robinson found a way to get himself ejected in the first half, via two separate technical fouls, one for attempting to throw an elbow. He was doing well before that, with 7 points and 6 rebounds with no fouls in 13 minutes.
- Victor Claver got a chance to show his stuff, starting in Batum's absence. He ended up playing in the garbage time comeback instead. Most of his stats (3 points on 0-4 FG and 3-6 FT, plus 6 rebounds) were accumulated during that period.
- The freakin' ball. Again! Sliding out of the Blazers hands, sliding out of bounds, leading to easy Phoenix buckets.
Stay tuned for Ben and Dave. The next preseason game is Friday night, in Boise against the Utah Jazz. -- Tim