The Portland Trail Blazers powered past the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of their 2017 preseason campaign tonight, led by Meyers Leonard shooting 5-6 from deep on his way to a team-high 17 points. You can watch highlights of the game in our Video Recap.
As you may have noticed, the game was not televised in any manner (officially) accessible to Portland observers. That left us without our normal recapping potential. Fortunately our friend Dave King from sister site Bright Side of the Sun was on site and able to give us impressions of the game. If you like Archie Goodwin and Meyers Leonard references, this is the recap for you! Here are Dave’s thoughts.
Hey there Blazers Edge!!
Dave King here, all the way from Phoenix. You may not know me (I’m certain you don’t lol), but I run the friendly neighborhood Suns blog, BrightSideoftheSun.com. We were lucky enough to have two of us at the game tonight, so while Evan Sidery writes the BSotS gamer, I offered to share my observations on the Blazers for you since the game isn’t on TV anywhere up there. It’s a Dave to Dave sharing.
Don’t expect too much, lol. I don’t know tendencies or who you’re wanting to watch off the bench, so you’re just stuck with getting what I see.
No Devin Booker or T.J. Warren for the Suns. Or a half-dozen other injured guys.
No Jusuf Nurkic (concussion) for the Blazers. Of course no Vonleh either (knee).
- Damian Lillard gets opening three on Blazers first possession.
- Josh Jackson gets steal and fast break finish on Blazers second possession, cutting off the dish it as they tried to feed Ed Davis.
- Lillard has such a smooth shot - barely has to look at the rim on the release. Scored their first 8 points. Had 2 of their first 3 rebounds as well.
- Suns were attacking the rim on most of their early halfcourt possessions, attacking rookie Zach Collins and Ed Davis as the starting bigs. It worked to get shots, but the Suns couldn’t finish
- Little Tyler Ulis might have be the first NBA player to make C.J. McCollum look like a big guard. Compounded by Ulis playing low to the ground when he has the ball.
- Suns got 5 fast-break points in the opening 5 minutes of play, and that’s with rookie Josh Jackson missing a one-hand alley-oop attempt on a break. Rookies.
- Blazers lead 12-11 late in the first. That’s the offensive flow we’ve got here. Suns shooting 16%. Blazers shooting 30%.
- After a nice Evan Turner spinning drive to the rim against Dragan Bender, the Blazers got a couple threes from Myers Leonard and it was a 20-16 game with still time left in the quarter. Offensive flow indeed!
- Myers Leonard has a really nice tan. I mean, it’s perfect. Is that a year-round natural color, or does he work on it religiously? There’s not that much sun in Portland is there?
- Aminu came in to hit a three, matched by Dragan Bender on the other end. Both shots without hesitation. Just as we all expected.
- Pat Connaughton had a nice drive and finish when the red sea parted all of a sudden for him in the half court. Suns D. Ugh.
- Blazers up 27-21 after one quarter.
- Some ugly shooting till the end there by Portland. Suns still uglier, shooting 25% for the game.
- Suns are still laying bricks. To be fair - they are getting open jump shots and driving runners but just not making them. Don’t walk away thinking the Blazers are putting out big time D here. Suns are just bad at making shots. Still, give credit that there’s no layup line for the Suns either. Blazers enticing jumpers.
- Meyers Leonard hits another three, while Evan Turner runs the team with Connaughton, McCollum and Aminu on the floor.
- Suns playing Alex Len, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson, Eric Bledsoe (who is strangely passive. Like, wow passive) and Mike James. Bledsoe came out for James after a bit.
- Blazers up 34-24 quickly
- Myers Leonard is now 4-4 on threes. Suns have decided to leave him wiiiide open anyway.
- Blazers are 7-10 overall on threes. Suns are 4-14.
- Josh Jackson is the Suns best player tonight, and that’s probably not a good sign for the Suns season. He’s got 10 of the Suns 34 points so far, but only on 4-10 shooting.
- Blazers up 46-34.
- Here comes Caleb Swanigan! he’s a burly dude
- Suns briefly cut the lead to 47-40, but then missed some open shots while the Blazers worked their way to a 7-0 finish to the half.
- Blazers up 54-40 at half.
- Suns shooting 30% for the game, to the Blazers 41%. Ugh.
- Leonard and Lillard lead Blazers with 12 points apiece, Swanigan and Davis had 4 rebounds each, and Turner leads in assists with 4.
- Josh Jackson had 14 points and 4 rebounds for the Suns. His quickness (and lack of scouting report, I’m sure) made him look quicker than the Blazers Harkless and Aminu.
- Portland works the ball around the perimeter almost the whole shot clock until McCollum finds a driving lane and draws the foul
- I’d like to say the Blazers are playing tough D, but it’s really the Suns making it easy on them
- Eric Bledsoe can’t make anything tonight. He’s 0-7 from the field, and 2-4 on free throws.
- Suns are down to 28% shooting on the night. Blazers up 63-41. Yawn.
- Blazers are being aggressive this half. Getting into the paint as much as possible. Getting to the line and/or finishing. Suns got “into the penalty” just 3:47 into the third quarter.
- Troy Daniels of the Suns isn’t much of a player, but boy can he shoot. Made consecutive threes as the Suns cut the lead all the way down to 15.
- Tough for the Suns to get any purchase though when they can’t stop the Blazers from scoring
- With the Blazers up 71-52 with 4:35 left, it’s time to clear the benches for the night. This is where the Suns came back a week ago in garbage time right?
- Except this time Daniels missed consecutive threes and Evan Turner somehow stopped consecutive post ups by Suns 7-footers. #ThisSeason.
[ed. Dude, it isn’t even a season yet.]
- Blazers lead up to 25 now. And they’re not even having to work real hard for it. Well-coached team just playing the game.
- Len even missed a putback dunk. While on the other end Turner makes a three.
- Best part about the game for a Suns fan is listening to this wonderful lady behind me, cheering on and encouraging every Suns player at every turn like a mom at a little league game. She’s been at it all night.
- Evan Turner is 5-6. Myers Leonard is 4-4. Aminu 2-2. Collectively 7-7 on threes.
- Blazers up 86-61 after three.
- You’re not missing much, Blazers fans. Suns aren’t putting up much of a fight anymore.
- Layman, Swanigan, Briscoe, Morrow and Leonard on the floor for Blazers.
- Bender, Len, Millsap, Ulis and Mike James for the Suns.
- Leonard needs to stay behind that three point line. Twice in the last few minutes he’s tried a deep, deep post move and gotten cleanly blocked on the turnaround hook attempt. Once by Len, once by Bender.
- BLOWS! Len and Swanigan both ejected from the game after going at it.
- Swanigan and Len got into it as they both tried to box out (while Leonard makes another three). Len was holding inside position, while Swanigan tried to bully him from behind. After the play, Len pushed him away and Swanigan came back hard. Ejections for both. Marquese Chriss and Zach Collins replace the two.
- That’s the most excitement we’re going to get from this point on
- Former Sun Archie Goodwin enters the game! Drives on Chriss, but layup comes up short. Then Elijah Millsap steals a pass from Archie and finishes on the fast break.
- I love Archie. He always worked hard and is very athletic. Just never really put it all together. His one NBA skill is driving into traffic and (mostly) finishing with a shot attempt. Problem, it doesn’t matter how many defenders are in the lane when he drives. He’s going, head down, anyway.
- Portland lead down to 15 with 7:00 minutes to go
- Mike James beats Archie to a loose ball, finishes at the rim, and all of a sudden its an 11 point game.
- But then Layman made a three and Archie got a driving layup and Portland had control again. No big Phoenix comeback this time.
- OMG this lady behind me. God bless her heart. She’s still encouraging every Suns player every second of every play. All positives.
All right that’s all I got folks!
If you’re still reading this, I suppose it couldn’t have been terrible.
Have a good season, Portland!
Just wait till the Suns have Luka Doncic or Marvin Bagley Jr. or whoever gets taken #4 overall next June.
Quotes from Trail Blazers personnel following the game:
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS HEAD COACH TERRY STOTTS
(Takeaways from tonight’s game)
“I thought we played a consistent game, I guess. Defensively, we gave up too many three attempts in the first quarter. Transition defense can still get a little better. Offensively we missed a lot of shots around the basket but I like the fact we’re getting to the basket. I thought for the most part we played a good level for most of the night.”
“I was really glad to see him hit some shots. I’m always the first to say that your game isn’t decided or determined whether you make shots or miss shots. He had a good rhythm, he made his first four and I think it had an effect on the game.”
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS FORWARD MEYERS LEONARD 17 POINTS | 8 REBOUNDS
(Takeaways from tonight’s game)
“I think our team is making big steps in the right areas. Last year it took us a while to mesh and figure out our chemistry. I think we’re much more focused on the defensive end as far as getting deflections, being in the right places on the weak side and understanding what we want to accomplish. Then on the offensive end, as long as we focus on our execution and again understand what we need to do, we’ll be just fine.”
Thanks to Dave and Bright Side of the Sun for the thoughts and quotes! If you can answer his question about Meyers and his tan (or if you’re just super excited about Archie Goodwin now), let him know in the comments.
The Blazers finish their preseason run against Maccabi Haifa B.C. on Thursday night at the Moda Center. Blazer’s Edge writer Brian Freeman will be there to recap and analyze.