Damian Lillard saved the day for Portland in a desert thriller against the Suns on Monday night. Devin Booker was out for Phoenix, but they still made do with Kelly Oubre Jr. and Aron Baynes leading the charge. The Blazers got off to an embarrassingly slow start but made it interesting throughout the game, ultimately pulling away in the final minutes.
Phoenix jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the opening five minutes, with Carmelo Anthony’s 3-pointer being the only bright spot early. Phoenix held a 16-point lead before the Blazers regained consciousness within the first period, but Damian Lillard picked up his third foul with 3:12 left, having gone 0-for-5 from the field up until that point. At the end of the first, Portland trailed by 8 with CJ leading the way at 12 points. The real highlight of the first quarter was the fouling, though: Portland committed 12 fouls in the first quarter alone.
Dame finally hit his first 3 with a few minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Blazers cut the deficit to single digits (67-59) before the half thanks to a beautiful alley-oop from Dame to Melo.
Lillard opened the second half with a pair of 3s before picking up his 4th personal foul a few possessions later. Momentum started to shift Portland’s way after a tough and-one by Melo. CJ buried a 3 to give the Blazers the lead late in the 3rd. Kent Bazemore became the first Blazer not named Lillard, McCollum, or Anthony to score in the 3rd when he took back the lead with a 3 of his own. The Suns
Kelly Oubre couldn’t stop throwing it down, smashing three massive dunks in the first three quarters. He led the way for Phoenix with 24 points on 10-for-21 shooting.
Down the Stretch
Damian Lillard’s driving layup was blocked off the backboard by Aron Baynes but called as a goal tend on the floor. The call was reviewed and overturned despite minimal evidence against the original call.
On the ensuing possession, Oubre drained a corner 3 as he was fouled by Bazemore and completed the 4-point play.
With 32 seconds left, Dame received the inbound pass, drove past Rubio on an iso and jumped through Baynes for the foul and the bucket.
Another lengthy review and one free throw later, the Blazers had a one-point lead with 26 seconds remaining.
The Suns held for the last shot and found an open look with Rubio, but the Spaniard couldn’t get the shot to go and Lillard’s rebound secured the victory.
- CJ – 30pts, 7reb, 7ast, 5TO on 11-20 FG, 3-7 3pt
- Dame – 27pts, 5ast, 4TO, 9-21 FG, 3-8 3pt
- Melo – 23pts, 8reb, 2stl, 3blk, 8-16 FG, 4-6 3pt
- Whiteside – 10pts, 14reb, 3blk, 4TO, 5-7 FG
- Baze – 11pts, 3stl, 4-10 FG
This was a more important win for Portland than it seemed early on. I personally was ready to give up this game when we were down 16 in the first quarter. Melo gets my game ball for playing through a painful corner 3 airball and giving the Blazers some much-needed energy throughout the night.