After a gritty win in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night, the Trail Blazers traveled to Phoenix to face the Suns, who had won eight of the last 11 Portland/Phoenix match-ups. These two teams last met in February, when the Blazers won easily behind Nic Batum’s 20 point/seven assist performance.
Out of the gates, the Blazers looked like the Blazers we know and love. LaMarcus was cookin’ early on, finishing the quarter with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. The good guys held a 29-21 lead after one, so everything seemed to be going as planned. But as we all know, ‘easy’ isn’t in this team’s vocabulary.
The second and third quarters were a complete nightmare for the Trail Blazers, but a combination of playing solid defense and Phoenix missing open looks allowed for them to stay within striking distance. After scoring 29 points in the first, Portland tallied just 31 over the next two periods. The Suns held a six point lead going into the final quarter of play despite shooting under 40 percent from the field.
The fourth period started with some back and forth play and a series of small runs for the Blazers, but much like in the Utah game, they struggled to get over the hump and re-gain the lead. With just over five minutes left, Portland trailed 74-70. From there, the L-Train took over, going to his signature turnaround jumper time and time again. Portland’s four-time all-star scored 12 of the team’s final 15, including a run of 10 straight points. The teams shot a few free throws to end it, and the Trail Blazers walked out of US Airways Center with a 87-81 win, all but ending the Suns’ playoff hopes.
LaMarcus Aldridge carried the load tonight, finishing with 27 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes of play. Robin Lopez added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while Damian Lillard and Steve Blake also scored in double figures.
With the win, the Trail Blazers move to 46-25 on the season, and 18-18 on the road. With OKC having the night off tonight, the magic number to win the Northwest Division is now five.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 40% — Phoenix 37%
- Three point percentage: Portland 27% — Phoenix 30%
- Free throws: Portland 8-18 — Phoenix 11-12
- Rebounds: Portland 54 — Phoenix 48
- Assists: Portland 15 — Phoenix 14
- Points in the paint: Portland 24 — Phoenix 32
- Fastbreak points: Portland 8 — Phoenix 15
- Bench points: Portland 28 — Phoenix 22
- Portland shot 4-21 in the third quarter.
- Robin Lopez has had a double-double in five straight games against Phoenix.
- Portland shot 40% from the floor, 27% from three, and 44% from the free throw line.
- This is Portland’s first win in Phoenix since December 10, 2010.
With the losing streak behind us, the Blazers will look to end this season just as they did last year: on a big winning streak. Portland will play in Denver tomorrow night as they attempt to extend this mini-streak to three games.