Win number 22 of the season was not easy, but the Suns were able to secure it in overtime on the second of a back-to-back on the road in Portland. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton elevated their play to another level to pull this one out.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points and 10 assists on 11-of-31 shooting. Phoenix mostly did a good job of containing him and forcing him into tough shots.
- Deandre Ayton- 28 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals on 12-of-17 shooting.
- Chris Paul- 24 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 steals on 10-of-19 shooting.
- Cam Payne- 17 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting.
It was good to have Deandre Ayton back. Phoenix sorely needed another body on the second of a back-to-back with their current injury report running pretty deep.
He got off to a strong start for the Suns early on, finishing through contact and in traffic on consecutive possessions, rolling hard to the rim.
Oh yeah, it's good to have DA back. pic.twitter.com/76ZoNMezHT— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) December 15, 2021
Phoenix led 32-21 after the first quarter of action, with a fairly balanced scoring attack.
End of 1Q: PHX 32, POR 21— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) December 15, 2021
Ayton: 9 Pts, 3-3 FG
Crowder: 9 Pts, 4-7 FG
Shamet: 5 Pts
Lillard: 6 Pts, 2-5 FG
It looked like the Suns were gonna pull away in the second quarter, leading by as many as 14 at one point. Portland fought back and Phoenix didn’t take great care of the ball which led to them cutting the lead down to 6 heading into the half.
Deandre Ayton led all Suns at the half with 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the charity stripe. Cam Johnson and Cam Payne each chipped in with 6 points off the bench. Crowder had 9 points on 9 shots.
The 14 assists at the half were encouraging, the 11 turnovers were not.
Phoenix came out strong in the 3rd quarter, picking up the defensive intensity and building their lead back to double digits.
The Blazers went on another run in the middle of the third, cutting the Suns lead to just four at 73-to-69, leading to a Suns timeout. The Suns' offense went ice cold for about a six-minute stretch, sorely missing Devin Booker.
Portland finished the final four minutes on a 14-to-2 scoring run to pull ahead by 2 at the end of the 3rd quarter by the score of 75-73.
Back-to-back threes from Tony Snell in the opening stages of the fourth quarter were certainly deflating, extending the Blazers' lead to five with 8:30 remaining.
Damian Lillard also hit some big shots to increase the Blazers’ cushion, as the Suns struggled to contain him off the high pick and rolls.
Cam Johnson hit a critical three with 5:30 remaining in the game to cut it down to a one-point game to swing some momentum back in Phoenix’s favor.
DominAYTON— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 15, 2021
Notches a season-high 26 points! pic.twitter.com/0okolFMhSC
Ultimately, the Point God took over and settled things down to guide them to another late-game win.
Chris Paul in the clutch this season:— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 15, 2021
60.9 FG% (1st in NBA)
The Suns are +60 in the clutch with CP3, the best mark in the league. pic.twitter.com/2h2II7qYRC
Star of the Game
Deandre Ayton- 28 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals on 12-of-17 shooting.
As great as Chris Paul was, they do not win this game without Deandre Ayton dropping his season-high.
Suns vs. Wizards — Thursday at 7:00 PM