Suns beat Trailblazers 101-90, Bledsoe and Knight combine for 60 points
After coming out on top against the Trailblazers on Friday night, the Suns were able to come up with a second win against the Trailblazers on Saturday. Despite a surge from Portland in the third and a sluggish offensive game, the Suns were able to win once again with their defense, and look to take that into their game against the Clippers on Monday.
The Suns started off the second game of a back-to-back with a lob to Tyson Chandler in the opening minute of the game, and worked to get Tyson involved in the first quarter. The defense let Al-Farouq Aminu take whatever shot he wanted throughout the game. Markieff Morris started the game with a couple of three’s, but couldn’t get going in the post. Kieff was able to make up for it by showing a lot of hustle and playing strong Defense. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight started off hot, and exposed the lack of defense in the Portland backcourt. John Leuer continued his strong play off the bench, and Ronnie Price continued to make the most of his time, taking the bulk of the guard rotation minutes off the bench.
In the opening of the second quarter, the Suns showed that they wouldn’t let Portland beat them in transition. The defense also continued to let Aminu take whatever shots he wanted. The Suns were aggressive the entire night on defense, switching almost every opportunity. Alex Len looked sluggish off the bench, and seemed to think he could get by with his height without jumping, and because of that, wasn’t able to get going on offense. TJ Warren continued to be aggressive, but wasn’t able to score off the bench as well. Leuer continued his hustle off the bench and was able to knock down a couple three’s. Bledsoe and Knight kept up the aggression in the second, and weren’t afraid to take long shots. Bledsoe and Knight were able to slow down a Portland run in the second, and that would eventually be the story of the night.
The third quarter was sluggish offensively from the beginning, and the Suns seemed to not have much going on offense until Knight was able to get it going again. Once Bledsoe got back in the game, it was basically a two man game the rest of the game. An 8 point game at the half became a 3 point game at the end of the third. Portland did what it could at the beginning of the fourth to run away with the game, but the defense was able to continue it’s strong game, and let Bledsoe and Knight put away the game. When trying to put away the game, Kieff was given a few shots in the post, but continued to be cold from the post.
60 points from Bledsoe and Knight was enough to put away the Trailblazers, with a 101-90 final score. Shooting 34% from deep and 41% from the floor in general, the Suns looked sluggish on offense outside of the backcourt. Ronnie Price and John Leuer seem to have carved themselves out to be in the main rotation off the bench, and will see some strong minutes with Alex Len and TJ Warren. PJ Tucker continues to show with his defense the reason why he starts over Warren, and the defense from the starting lineup has looked strong these past two games. With 11 steals and 6 blocks, they were able to contest a lot of shots and force Portland to turn the ball over. The next test will be against the Clippers on Monday night, where we can see if this defense can play strong against an elite offensive team.
Bledsoe and Knight were able to score a combined 60 points. They both shot over 50% from the floor, and were able to show just how dynamic they can be while sharing the floor. Bledsoe had 33 points with 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks with 2 turnovers, while Knight scored 27, with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and shot 4/9 from three.
Markieff couldn’t get rolling from the offensive side of the ball, and while he was able to make for it with his defense, the team will lean on him as the season continues to be their go-to post scorer.
Alex and TJ couldn’t get it going tonight, and while TJ looked aggressive, Alex looked like he was still tired from Friday nights game. These two guys have a lot of expectations coming off the bench this season and will have to play better as the season continues.
This isn’t really a bad, but put Booker in the game Hornacek! He only got one shot attempt in the first game against Portland, and could be the second best guard off the bench if Sonny Weems and Archie Goodwin can’t score regularly.