The Phoenix Suns built a 25-point lead and held a 15-point lead entering the fourth, but then the Portland Trailblazers came all the way back and took a 5-point lead with three to play before Goran Dragic made a big three and Eric Bledsoe got a 3-point play to give the Suns back the lead.
The lead seesawed all the way to the end, but the Suns got some big stops to take a three-point lead with 10.9 seconds to go.
Nicolas Batum had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists for the Blazers.
Eric Bledsoe was the Suns player of the game with 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. P.J. Tucker had 13 rebounds for the winners, including a number of clutch boards late in the fourth to seal some stops.
Isaiah Thomas had 27 big points for the Suns along with 4 assists, while Goran Dragic had 16 points and 4 assists.
Markieff Morris had only 6 points and 5 rebounds, but that included an absolute dagger post-up at the most dangerous point of the game.
The game started with two uncontested layups off curls to the hoop around screens. Not a good sign for tough defense tonight, lol.
Without LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers started Dorrell Wright at the four spot, making both teams small. The Blazers even started a bit smaller than the Suns.
Nicolas Batum was the Blazers early focus on offense, using his length to get to the hoop a couple times and put up a floater in the lane, and then Kaman got into the act with a jumper and putback.
The game had very little defense being played, tied 20-20 after six minutes with each team making 66+% of their shots. Bledsoe had 9 early points for the Suns, while Kaman had 8 for the Blazers.
Lucky for the Suns, Bledsoe was ultra-aggressive, scoring 11 points to go along with 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in the first quarter.
And then bench unit, with Bledsoe, finished off a 14-0 run to give the Suns a 40-29 lead after one. Isaiah Thomas scored 9 of the 14 points.
Gerald Green finally figured out that Steve Blake was guarding him and drove into a pull up jumper over top of Blake to start the second quarter.
The Suns kept making shots, especially Isaiah, and the lead got up to 18 on a Miles Plumlee drive/finish on a HOOK SHOT before Terry Stotts called timeout to get Damian Lillard back in the game. 49-31 Suns.
The Suns, for one of the first times all season, actually kept their foot on the gas coming out of a timeout like that and drove the lead to 25 (58-33) before Stotts called another one after a wide open Gerald Green three. Miles Plumlee had 4 points, 5 rebounds during the run. Isaiah Thomas had 13 points in his first 10 minutes of play, plus some beautiful passes.
The game got so out of hand the refs started swallowing their whistles and Dragic was knocked to the ground on consecutive (missed) breakaway layups. The no-calls were criminal. And yet it was the Suns losing their edge after that last Portland timeout that really allowed the Blazers back into the game.
And the lead was down to 14 at halftime, with the Blazers going on a ref-aided 21-8 run to tighten the game.
Nic Batum was great in the first half for the Blazers, with 15 points on 5/9 shooting.
Let's see if the Suns can recapture their first half magic coming out of the gate.
Unfortunately, no. Two Blazer layups quickly cut the lead to 10 sandwiched around a Suns turnover.
Then Eric Bledsoe took over and scored 10 of the Suns first 12 points of the half on a variety of nice shots and finishes to push the Suns lead back to 18 (78-60) before another Blazers timeout.
The Blazers stuck around in the 12-18 range by going even smaller with Wes Matthews as the power forward to speed up the game but the Suns kept making enough shots to keep the lead comfortable.
The Suns just weren't playing with fire though and Wesley Matthews tried real hard to bring the Blazers back into the game, scoring 7 quick points to pull within 11, but the Suns pushed it back to 17 on a few long shots.
The quarter ended with the Suns up 15, as Marcus Morris missed a dagger three and then Gerald Green a putback that could have widened the lead that much further but didn't.
Do the Blazers have one more run in them to make this a game?
They tried to go small -Thomas Robinson at center, Wright at PF - to disrupt the game and managed to make it helter-skelter and managed to pull within 11 on an offensive-board turned three pointer by Batum. The Suns started losing fights for rebounds to long-armed Batum and Robinson, culminating in that 4-point possession.
On the next possession, after a Suns miss, the Blazers got another 4 points (three-pointer and foul) and then cut it to 5 on a couple of free throws.
In three possessions, the lead dropped from 15 to 5 points. Geez.
The Blazers thought they could win this game.
Then Isaiah Thomas took over a bit and personally kept the Suns in the lead, despite the Blazers continuing to score. Even with Thomas' heroics, it was only a 6-point lead with 6 minutes left.
Then Lillard scored 5 quick points to make it a one-point lead.
Thomas Robinson was just eating up all the rebounds on both ends. And then the Blazers really started hitting shots and took a three-point lead.
With a 107-104 deficit, Eric Bledsoe missed two free throws but the Suns got two offensive rebounds (Keef, Tucker) and at least got one point out of it. That's 2 for last 5 on free throws. Meanwhile Nic Batum makes a 30-foot three.
Looked like a dagger until Goran Dragic made a HUGE corner three and then Bledsoe got an and-one to give the Suns the lead back.
They traded shots, including a Markieff Morris money post-up, and then the Suns got a big stop with 37.8 left and a one-point lead.
The Blazers got a stop on one end, then the Suns got a Lillard miss on the other.
Tucker got the rebound, of course. And made one free throw to make it a two-point lead. The Suns are now 11-20 on free throws. Turrible.
Time for a game-ending three-point attempt?