After a high-scoring home win against Denver on Saturday night, the Trail Blazers continued their three-game home stand on Monday, facing the Suns for the second time in in four nights. Phoenix held the lead going into the final period when these teams last met, but the Trail Blazers came out on top after LMA’s fourth quarter takeover.
Right off the bat, Portland’s offense looked better than it had in quite some time. The ball was moving fluidly, guys were making the extra pass, and most importantly, it seemed completely effortless. That being said, shots were falling. The Blazers shot 54% in the quarter behind a balanced attack. LMA and Batum combined for 14 first quarter points, while Steve Blake had three points and three assists in three minutes off the bench. That’s efficiency.
The Portland offense continued to cook in the second quarter, at least for the most part. The Blazers had stretched the lead to as many as 16, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Phoenix went on a 12-2 run in the final 3:22 of the half, shooting 6-for-7 from the field in the process. The run cut deep into Portland’s lead, and the Suns trailed by just six at the half.
Terry Stotts must have said something in the locker room at halftime, because the Trail Blazers came out red hot and rollin’ after the break. The Blazers opened up a 20 point lead thanks to a 17-4 run to start the half, which impressively took less than four minutes. The Trail Blazers continued their incredible offensive play throughout the quarter, which led to the home team outscoring the Suns 37-16 in the third. Portland took a 92-65 lead into the final period.
For the first time in a while, there was nothing to worry about in the fourth quarter. The starters got some well-deserved rest, and the bench guys got some good run. In the end, it was a 109-86 home win for the good guys.
Over the last few games, LaMarcus Aldridge has been doing absolutely everything for the Trail Blazers. Tonight, it was a group effort. Damian Lillard finished with 19 points and seven assists, and LMA went for 17 points and seven rebounds. Aaron Afflalo and Nicolas Batum added 16 points each.
With the win, the Trail Blazers are now 48-25 on the season, and 30-7 at home. Perhaps most importantly, they clinched a playoff spot. The magic number to win the Northwest Division is now two.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 51% — Phoenix 43%
- Three point percentage: Portland 44% — Phoenix 19%
- Free throws: Portland 9-10 — Phoenix 7-10
- Rebounds: Portland 47 — Phoenix 38
- Assists: Portland 26 — Phoenix 18
- Points in the paint: Portland 44 — Phoenix 44
- Fastbreak points: Portland 12 — Phoenix 16
- Bench points: Portland 33 — Phoenix 36
- No free throws were taken until the 9:43 mark of the second quarter.
- The Blazers had zero players in double figures at the half, but five players with eight points or more.
- Nicolas Batum is averaging 17 points on 50% shooting and 54% shooting from three in games against Phoenix this year.
- The Blazers clinched a playoff berth with the win.
- The magic number to clinch the Northwest Division is now two.
While clinching a playoff spot is certainly something to celebrate, the Blazers have a HUGE game coming up on Wednesday night. They will face the Clippers at home, who trail Portland by just a half game for home-court advantage in the Western Conference playoffs.