The Trail Blazers started off strong against the Suns, taking the first quarter 36-28 and containing Aron Baynes all night long, someone who had a career high against them last time they played. Though the Suns did bring it in the next two quarters, Portland was able to keep pace with the visiting team, only allowing the Suns to reach the height of a three point lead.
A big reason for their success how great the starters played, as each starter scored at least 16 points and four of them scored more than 20 points. Damian Lillard led the charge with 25 points off 8-17 shooting and 5-10 from the three point line but dished out seven assists too. Efficient nights from Trevor Ariza (7-12) and Hassan Whiteside (8-12) also provided the Blazers a much needed boost to win.
A few stats that stood out were the Blazers defensive numbers, getting more steals (9), blocks (9), and forcing more turnovers (11 to the Suns’ 14) than the Suns. It doesn’t help the Suns that a lot of their key players are hurt but for a team that’s struggled defensively, this was a solid night overall.
For the Suns, it was a tough night as the game was in their hand but it slipped out. Due to their injuries, the Suns only played 8 players significant time (Elie Okobo got two minutes at the end). This lack of depth would kill the legs from nearly any player, no matter how fresh they come into the game. It could be a good reason why the team struggled shooting wise compared to the Blazers as they shot 40.2% from the field and 34.4% from three. For reference, the Blazers shot 50.6% from the field and 48.6% from three.
Everyone on the team struggled, as Devin Booker had a rare inefficient game, scoring 29 points off 9-25 shooting. The team struggled to get him open looks and though he hit some beautiful shots on tough defensive looks, he took some bad shots.
Aron Baynes had a complete 180 against Portland, going 3-14 from the field and 1-7 from the three point line to score seven points. Ricky Rubio scored 21 points but more than half came from the free throw line. One player that did play well was Dario Saric, who scored 24 points off 9-16 shooting, wasn’t a completely dominating performance but a solid one. The injuries and minutes just simply took their toll on the team and the Blazers were able to worn them out to victory.
The Suns fall to 26-39 and their playoff dreams continue to stay on life support until the inevitable day they’re eliminated. Phoenix heads to Dallas for a matchup against the Mavs this Saturday at 11:00 AM.