LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 7 rebounds, Damian Lillard had 19 points and 7 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers blasted the Phoenix Suns out of the Rose City on Blazer's Edge Night, winning 109-86 Monday night at Moda Center.
The win clinched Portland's 31st playoff berth in 45 seasons. Their magic number to clinch the Northwest Division over Oklahoma City is now two.
Phoenix jumped out ahead early, hitting six of their first eight shots while Portland missed seven of their first ten. Then the threes started to fall for the home squad, and Portland turned the tide. The Blazers hit five threes in the period, two of them by Nicolas Batum, and grabbed a nine point lead after one. Batum led the scoring with eight, while Steve Blake had three points and three assists.
A balanced attack by the Blazers helped the team get out to a 16 point lead in the second quarter. Chris Kaman led the scoring with six, while Lillard, Aldridge, and Arron Afflalo all had nine at halftime. The joy, however, was short lived as Phoenix closed the quarter on a 12-2 run behind Gerald Green and Marcus Morris. With the Suns rallying, the Blazers only lead by six at halftime.
With Phoenix getting closer, Portland put its foot on the accelerator and fired the Suns out of the building. Lillard had nine in the third quarter, Batum and Aldridge had eight, and the Blazers used a 17-4 run to turn up the heat on the Phoenix. Portland hit four threes in the quarter, Phoenix missed all six of theirs, and with that disparity, the Blazers led by 27 after three.
Both benches played for the majority of the fourth quarter, with Portland safely ahead by as many as 31.
Kaman led the bench in scoring with 12. Batum and Afflalo both had 16 points. The Blazers shot 12-of-26 from three point range,
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Unsurprisingly, the Gameday denizen had a great time tonight. Here were a few of the best comments.
If Blake keeps playing like this, how are we ever gonna get a chance to fall in love with and/or despise Tim Frazier?
Warriors/Blazers Western Conference Finals: Do it for the fans. America is tired of the Spurs and no one ever liked the Clippers. Also, I’m gonna need Portland to get out of the 4/5 slot so this can happen in the WCF and not in the 2nd round.
Well, at least Kaman's got his head in the game early
You could say he has a nose for the ball.
One might say that Batum's pass wasn't noticed by Kaman and it hit Kaman in the face ;-)
Kaman said he doesn't know the woman who wore a shirt with his face on it to the game tonight— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 31, 2015
Damian Lillard said he didn't want a Kaman face sweatshirt. Neither did Meyers Leonard.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 31, 2015
Kaman said he thought Dame called the sweatshirt ugly, but Dame cleared that up. "I would've had to call the homies," Kaman said.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 31, 2015
"I don't even think his wife would wear that shirt." LaMarcus on the Kaman sweatshirt.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) March 31, 2015
Dame apparently told Kaman the sweatshirt would look better in black. It would make him look "more fierce." Kaman: "I didn't make it, cuz"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 31, 2015
Great team win tonight ! Thanks again Rip City for your support #weclinchaplayoffspot— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) March 31, 2015