Trail Blazers burn Suns 109-71 in largest victory of season

Looking back on the night of January 6, the Phoenix Suns were home after a few days of rest and had only scored above 100 points one time during the early season. Portland had used most of their energy the night before beating the Los Angeles Lakers on national television, and having to roll into the desert well into the morning. What resulted was Phoenix running circles around the tired legs of the Blazers, Steve Nash almost had a perfect night (17 Pts, 9 Ast and 2-2 threes) and LaMarcus Aldridge was kept to only 14 points as the Trail Blazers fell to an ugly blowout loss 102-77 at the end of the night. Three weeks later, Portland (12-8) returned the favor in grand fashion, playing in front of the rowdy Rose Garden crowd, the Blazers were thankful to have a day off and came to revenge their earlier loss. By the end of the first, the Suns (6-12) were up 24-21 in a close matchup full of lazy turnovers and equal shooting percentages. By the second quarter? It wasn’t even close. The Blazers gun a 26-9 second quarter and from there, ran away with a blowout victory, each Trail Blazer seeing quality minutes and returned the favor, beating the Suns 109-71 in Portland’s largest victory against Phoenix ever in franchise history.

As usual, Portland started the game getting good looks but not cashing in, while Phoenix who have adapted a slower style of pace, matched the Blazers as Nash ran the controls and found guys like Grant Hill under the basket and big man Marcin Gortat going toe to toe with Marcus Camby. The Blazers fell victim to early turnovers and it was a matter of time before the Suns would capitalize on the freebies that were given. Aldridge went to work early on Channing Frye, Gerald Wallace and Wesley Matthews continued to push the Portland tempo to their style go play, but Phoenix managed to take a small 24-21 lead after one.

Then the Blazers ran on the fast break, found the open man from beyond the three, smashed the paint and add some Wallace dunks, Batum blocks, steals and one of the best defensive performances by Portland all season, and the Suns had no chance. Portland outscored Phoenix a whopping 26-9 in the second quarter, holding the Suns to 30% shooting and keeping them to making just four puny baskets. Jamal Crawford was finding an open Blazer for 7 assists in the first half like Matthews who found his hot hand from three. Phoenix would look for anyone to find an open shot, most likely through Nash but the combo of Crawford/Batum/Wallace/Aldridge and Camby on the floor was a huge help, Batum shutting Nash down for most of the night with some stellar defense. By halftime Portland would be up by 14 points and it would get larger from there.

How about outscoring the Suns 31-12 in the third? Or 31-26 in the fourth? The game was practically over by five minutes left in the third, Portland would be up by 30 points and it meant that our bench players would finally see some well deserved playing time. Chris Johnson and Elliot Williams would connect for some high-flying dunks, Kurt Thomas hit something like four baskets in a row, even Luke Babbitt made a field goal. The Blazers run away in style and improve their home record to an impressive 9-1 record and pound the Suns in their best all around performance of the season.

Every Blazer needs a well deserved high-five. Final stats:

LaMarcus Aldridge: team high 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk on 10-16 shooting.

Gerald Wallace kept the heat on max high all night long, even finding himself running into six rows into the crowd. 17 Pts, 3 Stl on 6-11 shooting.

Wesley Matthews will hope that he finally found his shooting form as he was dangerous from downtown, 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk and 4-7 threes.

Marcus Camby grabbed 20 rebounds. The man is a machine.

Jamal Crawford with just 9 Pts had 10 Ast and a billion sick crossovers, making Nash look super old.

Speaking of which, putting Nic Batum to chase Nash is one of the best strategies Portland could do, his long arms would disrupt anything Nash would try to create and ended up being a nightmare for the Suns. He had 14 Pts, 5 Reb and 1 Stl.

Consider these stats as well: second chance points: Portland 19, Phoenix 0. Turnovers after the first quarter: Phoenix 21, Portland 14. Assists: Portland 28, Phoenix 18 Rebounds: Portland 58, Phoenix 41. Points in paint: Portland 52, Phoenix 36. Threes: Portland 7-20, Phoenix 4-13.

Such a fun game to watch and it’s about time that Portland could cruse much of the way, good to see some bench players stretch their legs. Now we get the entire weekend off before flying down to Utah to help improve our road record against a surprisingly good Jazz team on Monday night.

photos courtesy of