Blazers get revenge, beat Suns 106-96
After losing two straight games to the Suns back on October 30 and 31, the Portland Trailblazers were able to come into Talking Stick Resort Arena and beat the Suns on Star Wars night. The season series is now 2-1 in favor of Phoenix.
This Portland team is pretty similar to the Suns. They are led by two young, talented guards who are quite similar to the Phoenix guards. Different front court player and bench players will step up and have big games as well. This was the case tonight as Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum both had strong games. Lillard had 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists. McCollum had a team high 26 points along with two rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Blazers’ sixth man, Allen Crabbe hit some nice shots and made a difference in the game with 18 points, five rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block.
One key to the game that the Phoenix commentators talked about before the game was shutting down one of the guards. They mentioned that Lillard and McCollum are both very talented and at least one of them is bound to have a good game. If the Suns could shut one of them down then they would have a better chance to win. The Suns could not accomplish this, but the Blazers were able to shut down one of the Phoenix guards effectively.
Brandon Knight had only one point on 0/12 shooting including going 0/8 from three point range. Knight is known as a streaky player. Often times when he gets in a shooting funk he can hit one shot, find his rhythm, and contribute to the scoring. This was not the case tonight as the only shot he hit was on a free throw due to a defensive three seconds call. It was not all bad for Knight as he had five rebounds and 10 assists, but his scoring was definitely missed as he has averaged 21.4 points per game this season.
It was a tale of two halves for the Suns. In the first half they scored 61 points, their highest in any half this season. Threes were falling left and right for Phoenix, but the defense was questionable for Phoenix all night, giving up 57 points in the first half. The second half was weak for the Suns. They had 35 points in the third and fourth quarters combined. They had 35 points in the second quarter alone. Portland made some great halftime adjustments to combat the open looks that Phoenix was getting from three point range in the first half. The Blazers got stops when it counted and this led to a win.
On the bright side for the Suns they only had nine turnovers tonight as opposed to their season average of 17 per game. It would be helpful for the Suns to keep decreasing their number of turnovers per game.
Which Suns Shone the Brightest?
1. Eric Bledsoe – Bledsoe had a great game and showed veteran leadership tonight. He had 31 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block, and only one turnover. I was especially impressed with Bledsoe’s composure. He kept the Suns in the game for as long as he could. While other players were taking ill advised shots to try to mount a comeback, Bledsoe was sticking to what was working. His leadership has been essential this season.
2. Mirza Teletovic – Teletovic continues to look confident after his “mirzacle” game winning shot against Chicago. Tonight his confidence remained high and it was rightly so. He finished with 15 points, which included four made three pointers. He also added six rebounds and two assists. Teletovic’s shooting has been a great addition for the Suns. He can come into the game and make a couple threes to change the momentum of the game.
3. Alex Len – After a career night in the game against Orlando, Len continued his strong play tonight. He had 13 points, eight rebounds, and an assist. He is developing very nicely. His mid range shooting
is improving and he is successfully driving to the basket more often. It is apparent that Len has the green light to take some chances. So far, his chances are paying off.
It is also interesting to note that Markieff Morris did not play once again tonight and was not listed on the injury report. I expect more news about this situation to come out a little later.
Phoenix will finish off their home stand when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 pm local time.