Phoenix Suns torch hapless Trail Blazers 125-107

As anyone could imagine, Steve Nash ran circles around the Portland guards in route to a 125-107 demolition, the Suns (32-29) eyeing for the last playoff spot as they got a lift from the Houston Rockets losing to Denver, the Trail Blazers (28-34) treating this game and the rest of their five game stretch as prime time for the rookies to strut their stuff and possibly earn a role on the roster next season. The Blazers go ahead to sit Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum, Jamal Crawford who sat out in the loss to Sacramento made his way back into the rotation but didn’t contribute as much as he could have. Phoenix hit a bunch of threes, force the rookies to take tough shots and create mad amounts of turnovers and score 100 points near the end of the third quarter, leading to a 125-107 blowout and earning the Suns the eighth seed in the West. With the loss, Portland is now officially out of the playoff race.

All you need to know, Phoenix (manly Nash) cruise past Portland in every which way and control a 10-point lead into the second quarter. As Nash sits down and the Suns bench enter, the Blazers led by Luke Babbitt and J.J. Hickson bounce back with some dominate defense (a la Hasheem Thabeet block) and suddenly Portland is only down by three! Phoenix calls a timeout and put back Nash to calm the storm, and immediately go on to hit 8-10 field goals and put them back up by double digits for the rest of the game.

Luke Babbitt scored a new career high 18 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast and 4-9 from downtown, sometimes even a step or two behind the line and made his first appearance in the starting lineup at the three start. J.J. Hickson had a nice game but wasn’t amazing, a few nice put backs and finished with 22 Pts, 8 Reb on 9-15 shooting. Wesley Matthews followed his 31 point performance in Sac-Town with just 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Stl. Jonny Flynn also made his first Portland start in place of Felton and struggled against a much experienced Nash, just 4 Pts, 6 Ast and 2 turnovers. Jamal Crawford got 22 Pts to share with Hickson but it came along with 7-16 shooting, 5 Reb, 4 Ast and shockingly 8-10 from the foul line, something Crawford doesn’t do.

Five Phoenix Suns score in double figures with Marcin Gortat scoring 20 Pts and 10 boards. Steve Nash (hopefully the next time he’s mentioned here will be sporting a Blazers jersey) had just 6 Pts but 13 Ast and was a freaking +26 when he was on the court. The Suns shot an amazing 60% from the floor and at one point was over 70% in the second quarter. They combine for 7-15 from three-point range, and outscore Portland 60-50 in the paint, 27-11 on the fast break and out rebound 41-36. Nothing much you can really do about that if you’re Portland but it gives Phoenix new life for a postseason spot, hoping the Rockets and Jazz continue to slide.