Portland jumped out to an electric start, doubling up Phoenix 38-19 in the first quarter behind a sizzling hot Damian Lillard, who hit five threes and scored 16 of his 33 points in the opening frame.
It was far less magical the rest of the way, as the Suns slowly chipped away at the advantage and eventually pulled ahead with a Deandre Ayton tip-in with less than three minutes to go. They never looked back.
The Blazers are at “Break glass in case of emergency” status at the center position after losing Skal Labissiere for a still yet to be determined amount of time with a knee injury sustained Saturday night against the Lakers, but the box still remains intact.
Moses Brown was promptly (read “desperately”) promoted from the Idaho Stampede, but didn’t have his number called tonight outside of a couple garbage time minutes where, in a sequence emblematic of the state of the Blazers right now, he botched an inbounds pass that turned into a Kelly Oubre Jr. three to end the first half.
Instead, Anthony Tolliver got the bulk of the minutes backing up Hassan Whiteside, of which there were few. Portland rode its starters hard - Lillard and CJ McCollum both played 38 minutes each, while Whiteside and Anthony both played 37.
It was another monster stat line for Whiteside, who had 16 points, 22 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Blazers afloat.
Anthony struggled mightily again, scoring only 10 points on 4/16 shooting.
The Blazers will begin a five-game trip away from the Rose City against the New York Knicks Wednesday.