Phoenix Suns go cold in Portland, lose third straight: By the Numbers
One great quarter is usually not enough to win a basketball game.
Thursday night’s game in Portland is a testament to that notion.
The Phoenix Suns were down by double digits against the host Trail Blazers for most of the first half, but Jeff Hornacek’s group came out of the intermission with a strong 30-20 third quarter, cutting the deficit to one.
Portland responded with an even stronger fourth quarter, and a rout was on. The Blazers poured in more than 40 points in the final period and won by a final of 108-87, their second victory in a row.
Phoenix dropped its third straight and is now 28-23 on the season, including 13-13 on the road. The Blazers boosted their recorded to 34-16 (22-5 at home) and took sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference — thanks to a Los Angeles Clippers loss earlier in the night.
Here’s a look at the Suns’ lopsided loss, by the numbers:
With the Suns’ third loss in a row, the team’s cushion over New Orleans for the final Western playoff spot shrank to one game. Phoenix will have a chance to turn the ship around Friday night at home against the 17-32 Utah Jazz.
Suns guard Archie Goodwin received some late minutes for just the second time since Jan. 4, and he put the ball in the hoop for the first time since that date. The second-year guard made his only field goal attempt Thursday and went 2-for-2 from the foul line for four points. He also stole the ball once in two minutes of action. Another rare sight was Zoran Dragic scoring a bucket: The 25-year-old guard dunked near the end of the game, marking just his third time on the scoreboard this season.
The Suns were facing Portland at a good time, as the Blazers had lost eight of their previous 11 games. However, only two of those losses came at home, and the Blazers protected the Moda Center well once again for just their fourth win in their last 12 outings.
8 (Part I)
Markieff Morris scored a team-high 18 points, but he shot just 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) in 37 minutes. However, he continued to show improvement on the boards, pulling down a team-high eight rebounds, including two on offense. Although the fourth-year forward only had three boards in Monday’s loss to Memphis, he ripped down 32 in the three previous contests. So, he is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game over his last five outings.
8 (Part II)
The Suns’ three big men combined for a meager eight points. Starter Alex Len scored five, but left after just over nine minutes of action with a sprained ankle. Brandan Wright shot 1-for-3 from the field for two points, while Miles Plumlee missed all four of his attempts and finished with one point.
Eric Bledsoe was one of the few Suns to have a solid evening. He such 5-for-10 from the field — a much higher clip than the Suns’ overall 38.6 shooting percentage on the night — and he finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. However, he did turn the ball over six times in 35 minutes, marking his ninth straight game with three giveaways or more.
After the Suns’ 30-20 third quarter, the Blazers blew the game open with an astounding 42-22 fourth period. A Nicolas Batum three-pointer gave Portland an 86-75 lead with 6:03 left, and the Blazers held onto a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the contest.
Unsurprisingly, the Trail Blazers dominated in points in the paint, scoring 56 down low to the Suns’ 44. The home team also easily won the rebound battle by a 57-42 margin.
On the bright side for Phoenix, the Suns didn’t pick up any technical fouls Thursday, and the Clippers took the league lead in that category just a couple of hours prior. Los Angeles picked up five technicals in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Clippers now have 58 on the season; Phoenix is in second with 53.
The Suns scored a season-low 87 points last Saturday at Golden State, and they tied that mark again just two games later. Their 15 points in the first quarter and 20 in the second were a big reason for the modest amount at the end of regulation.
Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t play at 100 percent, but still posted 19 points and 13 rebounds in 35 minutes. The performance was his 220th career double-double, which is a new Blazers franchise record. Sidney Wicks was the previous record holder.