[There will be no full recap and analysis tonight, as Blazer's Edge's own Dave Deckard is currently traveling to Portland in preparation for our annual Blazer's Edge Kids Night at the Moda Center Monday. Hang out here to discuss tonight's game, and we'll have more coverage soon.]
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 9 rebounds, Robin Lopez had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped their losing streak in Phoenix, winning an ugly game, 87-81 over the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.
Aldridge started slowly in his first game back from a finger injury versus Utah. He did not have the same problem in Phoenix. Aldridge hit six straight shots in the first for 12 points as Portland roared out in front. The team as a whole hit nine consecutive shots at one point, assisted by six Suns turnovers. Behind a combination of solid defense and lights out shooting, the Blazers led by eight after one.
The second quarter split into two halves, with the first being all about the Blazers. Steve Blake went on a spree, hitting his first three shots for eight points, and Portland extended their lead to eleven. Then the second half of the quarter started, and everything went the opposite direction. Up became down, left became right, and everything the Blazers fired at the hoop missed. The Blazers missed fourteen of their final seventeen shots of the period, with Aldridge, Damian Lillard, and Arron Afflalo combining to shoot 1-of-11. With Portland unable to hit any shots, Phoenix rallied to tie the game. The teams would remain deadlocked at halftime.
The nightmare shooting for Portland continued into the second half. The Blazers shot just 4-of-21 in the third quarter, with Lopez leading all scorers with four. The poor shooting even extended to the free throw line, where the normally deadeye Blazers missed six free throws in the quarter. Despite the awful shooting from Portland, Phoenix only led by six after three.
Whatever was affecting the Blazers aim spread to both sides like wildfire in the fourth quarter. While Portland's shooting hovered around the 40% mark for the period, Phoenix missed ten straight shots at one point and with three minutes remaining in the period was shooting 19% from the field. A Lillard technical free throw gave Portland the lead back with two and a half minutes remaining. At that point, "Aldridge Time" became a reality, and a real problem for the Suns. Aldridge hit six consecutive shots, giving the Blazers a nine point advantage they would not relinquish.
Blake led the bench in scoring with 10. Nicolas Batum and Arron Afflalo combined to shoot 3-of-11 for seven points. Dorell Wright had a second straight strong fourth quarter, finishing with eight points and five rebounds. Lillard had 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Portland shot just 8-of-18 from the free throw line.
Minimal postgame reaction tonight, likely as the team headed to the airport quickly to return home for tomorrow night's game versus Denver.
More Batum on LMA: "I’ve been seven years with him and when he’s cooking like this all I have to do is stand and watch."— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 28, 2015