Suns Hold Off Trail Blazers, Win 118-113


The Phoenix Suns came away victorious on Wednesday night as they were able to hold on to a 25-point lead in the final minutes with a final score of 118-113.

Phoenix scored a whopping 40 points in the first quarter to build an 11-point lead. Their great play at the end of the first quarter rolled over to the second quarter as they used a 32-4 run in total to push the lead to 58-33.

Portland did not shy away after trailing by 25 points as they continued to battle back into the game, but still trailed by 15 points entering the fourth.

Nicolas Batum hit clutch shot after clutch shot in the final three minutes to actually put theTrail Blazers in the lead. Batum was given a shot to tie the game with a pair of free throws with 15 seconds remaining in the game, but missed the second one resulting in a pair of free throws for Eric Bledsoe.

On the ensuing Blazers (31-12) possession Damian Lillard caught the in-bounds pass, but his foot was out of bounds giving the ball back to Phoenix.

Bledsoe led the Suns (26-18) in scoring with a career-high 33 points, grabbed 10 boards, and dished out six assists. Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to add an additional 27 points on 11-16 shooting.

Although Batum couldn’t knock down the game-tying free throw, he still finished with a team-high 27 points for Portland. Lillard played a game-high 41 minutes and scored 22 points, but struggled from the field as he went 6-22 from the field.

Jan 21, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard controls the ball in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Good:

We will start off with the bench play of these two clubs. Phoenix’s bench outscored the Portland bench 54-13. All five bench players that the Suns used finished with positive ratings on their +/- with Miles Plumlee leading the way with a +24. Four of the five bench players that the Trail Blazers used finished with a negative rating.

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As if outplaying the opposition’s bench, the Suns’ bench unit also showed up their own starters. In comparison to the starting unit, Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris all finished with a negative rating, while Alex Len finished even.

Fast break points can determine how successful the Suns will be on any given night. Tonight, they outscored the Trail Blazers 24-17 on the fast break as they continued to push the ball in transition as they currently rank 2nd in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors in fast break points per game.

Limiting turnovers was another key to victory as Phoenix only committed 13 turnovers. On the flip side, they also had 11 steals with Tucker having four and Bledsoe adding three of his own.

The Bad:

When outsiders look at the final score on the ESPN bottom line they will have thought that this contest was close throughout. The final score will not represent how the Suns blew a large lead and were barely able to come from behind in the final minute to come away victorious.

Free throws…free throws…free throws. We hear it all the time. They are “free“, but the Suns just could not seem to find the right touch at the line this evening. Phoenix finished 15-24 from the charity stripe, while Portland went 22-28. Fundamentals, gentlemen!

The Suns will be back in action on Friday night as they continue their home-stand against James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

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