EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns come back from 19 down, beat Portland for 2nd straight win

Dec 30, 2019, 10:49 PM | Updated: 10:53 pm
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts after scoring against the Portland Trail Blazers during the ...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts after scoring against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. The Suns won 122-116. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

When the Phoenix Suns beat the Sacramento Kings on Saturday to end an eight-game losing streak, it didn’t look like it when the final buzzer sounded.

Harrison Barnes’ wide-open missed three-pointer seemed to leave those on the floor for the Suns either frustrated or surprised, which is not the type of reaction you’d bank on after snapping that type of skid.

It was an ugly game the Suns were lucky to win, but Monday’s 122-116 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers was much more in the bounce-back fashion.

After being down 19 at the end of the first quarter and posting that many points in the 12 minutes, Phoenix posted scored 36, 28 and 39 in the last three quarters, respectively. The defense showed up in the second half too, limiting Portland to 52 points.

The Suns (13-20) kept sticking around, eventually getting the Trail Blazers (14-20) lead down to four midway through the third and keeping it within range from there.

Phoenix seemed to keep getting big shots and moments from everyone on the floor in the fourth, including Deandre Ayton, who returned off the bench after missing five games due to a right ankle sprain. Ayton was largely out of place and ineffective throughout most of the game, but had a key tip-in offensive rebound with 2:48 left that gave the Suns their first lead since the start of the game and made a few key contributions to close.

Devin Booker was clearly a man on a mission again, going away from the contained version of his game within Monty Williams’ “0.5” offense that he had limited himself to often through the first six weeks of the season. It was some of the most aggressive he’s been all season and he posted 33 points, six rebounds and seven assists through that, including a 15-for-15 output from the free-throw line.

Booker scored six straight points shortly after Ayton’s bucket to extend the lead to four with a minute left, and after Portland’s Damian Lillard made one of two free throws, Kelly Oubre Jr. hit his career-high seventh three-pointer of the night to put the Suns in complete control, up six at 44.4 seconds remaining.

Oubre made sure to blow plenty of kisses to the fans who he said boo’d him following some earlier kiss exchanges.

Oubre had 29 points, six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block.

Ricky Rubio was excellent after the first quarter, having his jumper going for the second straight night to drop 18 points with five rebounds and 13 assists.

Mikal Bridges was monumental off the bench, making swing plays in the second half to the tune of 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.

Ayton had six points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes, closing out the game ahead of starter Aron Baynes.

Lillard had 15 of his 33 points in the first quarter, C.J. McCollum added 25 for Portland and the Blazers couldn’t get a win despite shooting 14-for-34 from three-point range.

The Suns, meanwhile, were 13-of-23 (56.5%) from deep while managing terrific assist (29) and turnover (nine) numbers.

The Sacramento win was not one for Phoenix to build off. They were largely playing the way they did during the losing streak, that same stink draped all over them that Suns fans have grown accustomed to seeing the past few years.

That was still present on Monday, mostly in the first quarter, but the play in the second half was getting back to what had the city buzzing about the job Monty Williams was doing. That’s something to build off, especially with the return of Ayton in the first game all season they’ve had a fully healthy squad and Booker rolling through three straight games scoring 30-plus.

UP NEXT

Phoenix travels to Los Angeles to wrap up a four-game road trip on New Year’s Day against the Los Angeles Lakers. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. and you can listen live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Penguin Air

Penguin Air

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Empire of the Suns

Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference...
Kellan Olson

Ish Wainright returns to Phoenix Suns on 2-way contract, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-way contract with forward Ish Wainright, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
10 days ago
(Twitter photo/@KellanOlson)...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson’s connection to Valley strengthens with 3-on-3 tournament

The Phoenix Suns' Cam Johnson can confidently call the Valley his second home and keeps finding ways to connect to the community.
14 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the New Orl...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson hears trade rumors, focused on offseason growth

Phoenix Suns wing Cam Johnson hears the noise of trade rumors this summer and understands the business side of the NBA.
14 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half of the Eastern Conference 2022...
Kellan Olson

Will Phoenix Suns abandon team-building principles to land Kevin Durant?

The Phoenix Suns must decide how badly they want Kevin Durant and how long they are willing to wait to make it happen.
16 days ago
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns wrap up play in Las Vegas with win over Pacers

Phoenix Suns basketball came to a close this summer with an 84-69 win in Summer League play over the Indiana Pacers.
27 days ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled by Quenton Jackson #3 of the Washington Wizards dur...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns fall to Kings; Ish Wainright’s future in Phoenix

The Phoenix Suns' second-to-last Summer League game was an 82-69 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
29 days ago
Suns come back from 19 down, beat Portland for 2nd straight win