A maligned Blazer got his game going, but Portland could not overcome the loss of their leading scorer.
The early scoring replacements for LaMarcus Aldridge came in the form of Chris Kaman and Batum. Kaman scored ten in the first on 5-of-5 shooting, and Batum had nine before cooling off at the end of the quarter. The problem for the Blazers came when the second unit engaged for both teams. Phoenix ended the period on a 14-0 run when Portland missed seven straight shots. The 40 points the Suns scored were the most given up in a single quarter by the Blazers this season, and Portland trailed by 11 after one.
Phoenix continued to dominate at the start of the second quarter, taking advantage of Portland missing 9 of its first 11 shots of the period to push their lead to as high as 25. The Blazers began to rally at the end of the quarter, with Batum scoring six and Lillard shooting 6-of-6 at the free throw line to start a 9-0 Portland rally, cutting the Suns lead to 14 at halftime.
The Blazers started the second half hot, getting as close as ten. Wesley Matthews had 11 in the period, but Phoenix got hot from deep on the back of Isaiah Thomas. For the night, Phoenix outscored the Blazers off the bench 53-13. The Suns kept their lead by 15 after three.
The fourth quarter rally for Portland began on schedule, with Batum and Wright hitting back-to-back threes. Wright converted his into a four point play by luring Eric Bledsoe into a foul. Portland got as close as four, but Thomas kept the Blazers out of reach. He would finish with 27 points. When all seemed lost, Damian Lillard got things going yet again. After a driving layup past Thomas, he hit a three in transition to cut the Phoenix lead to one. Bledsoe hit a free throw, but Lillard got to the line to tie the game. Bledsoe had his shot blocked by Batum, who hit a step back three on the other end to give Portland their first lead since the first quarter. Bledsoe got the lead back for Phoenix on a controversial and one. With 30 seconds remaining, Thomas Robinson blocked a Bledsoe shot, and Lillard had a chance in transition, but missed. P.J. Tucker hit one of two free throws, giving Portland the final shot. Goran Dragic fouled Batum, sending him to the line. Batum hit the first, but missed the second. Bledsoe hit two free throws for a three point Phoenix lead. Steve Blake's inbound pass went out of bounds, and Portland fell.
Dorell Wright had 15 points starting for Aldridge. Thomas Robinson had six points, seven rebounds, and had a strong fourth quarter off the bench. Damian Lillard had 22 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
How long since #Blazers won in Phoenix? Last time was Dec. 10, 2010, behind 26 points by Brandon Roy. Marcus Camby had 18 rebounds.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) January 22, 2015
VIDEO: Chris Kaman emphatically blocks a layup midway through the first quarter.