Neither the Phoenix Suns nor the Portland Trail Blazers came out with a lot of defensive pressure. Suns players kept losing Blazers on picks and back screens. Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe saw a lot of open jumpers (and actually hit them!)
Keef looked locked in, nailing his first three shots, including a 3. Marcus Morris made an impressive turn around jumper on Nicolas Batum. Bledsoe looked aggressive.
But the Suns continued to lose track of shooters on defense. Aaron Afflalo, Damian Lilliard, and Batum all found themselves wide open for their made 3s. 11-3 run by the Blazers.
And then Steve Blake hit a 3. Blegh.
Despite hitting 8 of their first 12 shots, the Suns hit a cold streak at the end of the quarter and ended up shooting at 43%. The offensive woes continue. Blazers shot 54%, hit 5 of 8 3s, and ended the quarter on an 18-5 run.
Suns 22, Blazers 31
T.J. Warren followed up his 18 point showing last night with his signature floater to open up the quarter.
Suns turnovers gave Portland fast break buckets and easy points.
A.J. Price entered the game and looked all around incompetent, as usual. He did draw a nice offensive foul on Afflalo though.
At the 9:13 mark, there was a rare Gerald Green sighting. He threw up a three on his first possession, and it was WET. And then airballed his next shot. Never change, Gerald.
He continued to hit one of his crazy side-leaning fade away jumpers, get a steal and fast break lay up, and then airball a 3. All the polarizing aspects of Green's game were coming out in full force in Portland.
In spite of Green's scoring outburst, the Suns still found themselves trailing by 13 points. Their defense did not look good at all. The Blazers continued to bomb away from the 3. The Suns were looking like a team that was still shell-shocked after last night's loss.
Suns got down by as much as 16, but quickly got it back down to a 10 point deficit with a small ball lineup of Bledsoe, Green, P.J. Tucker, and the Morrii.
The small ball lineup continued to play well, and capped off as 12-2 run with a fastbreak Bledsoe-to-Green alley-oop slam. They cut the lead all the way down to 6 and were suddenly looking dialed in. Now we're talking!
Suns 49, Blazers 55
Suns did not continue their run, but instead gave up one to the Blazers. Bledsoe coughed up a fifth turnover before getting called for a tech. Blazers went on a quick 8-0 run before Bledsoe took it hard to Lilliard on two possessions in a row. Lilliard answered with a 3, and then got fouled on a 3 on the subsequent possession. Sheesh.
By time Jeff Hornacek called timeout, the Blazers had extended their lead to 19 (!!) points. So much for looking "dialed in"...
Portland could not miss from 3. Aldridge was Aldridging.
Phoenix returned to the small-ball look, but to no avail; they could not replicate the success they had at the end of the first half. The Blazers looked unstoppable. The Suns gave up 32 points in 8 minutes. Tough to win a game like that.
Suns 65, Blazers 92
Look! It's Reggie Bullock! You have to find things to get excited for when your team is down 29 points in the fourth quarter. Bullock came in and blocked C.J. McCollum on a three point attempt, so that was neat.
Alex Len may or may not have broken his nose from an inadvertent elbow. He was pretty bloody.
T.J. Warren had an impressive little three-point play on an up-and-under to cut the Blazers lead to 24. Watch out for the young guns!
Just kidding. Blazers back up to 27. Bullock missed a 3, a layup, and airballed a jumpshot, so he wasn't exactly moving the needle. Warren continued to play well.
I'll be honest guys, there wasn't a whole lot to watch for here. It was an entire fourth quarter of garbage time, and other than Warren dancing his way to 13 points, there wasn't much to get excited for.
Welp, that's that. The Suns did not come out fighting, as I hoped they would, and lost their fourth game in a row. Blazers clinched a playoff spot in the win.