Phoenix Suns 120, Portland Trail Blazers 106 -- Streak busted


PHOENIX– The Portland Trail Blazers have officially found their kryptonite in 2013-14.

It wasn’t Carmelo Anthony’s one-man show, the Golden State Warriors’ up-tempo offense, the Brooklyn Nets’ cavalcade of aging stars or Tom Thibodeau’s stingy half court defense.

No, their weakness apparently is playing inside the US Airways Center.

For the second time this season, the Blazers came to the Valley of the Sun with a heavy dose of optimism and left with an L beside their name.

Paced by a 40-point second quarter, tremendous offensive contributions from Goran Dragic (31 points on 10-of-18 shooting) and Channing Frye (season-high 25 points and nine rebounds), impressive bench production from the Morris brothers and Ish Smith and a rare sign of aggression on the offensive glass (13 offensive rebounds), the Suns put an end to the Blazers’ 11-game winning streak with an impressive 120-106 victory Wednesday night.

The margin of victory (14 points) was the Suns’ largest of the season, surpassing the 13-point beat down they already put on Terry Stotts’ squad on Opening Night.

For the Blazers, they move to 0-2 in Phoenix, and 13-1 everywhere else.

For more analysis, let’s answer Ryan Weisert’s preview questions.

Which Aldridge will show up?

The ‘Bad’ LaMarcus Aldridge that went 5-of-19 for 12 points back on Nov. 13 was nowhere to be found Wednesday night. From the outset, the Blazers made a conscious effort to get their All-Star power forward the ball.

Aldridge scored 11 points on eight shots in the first period alone and finished with 24 to go along with four rebounds.

But outside of a five-point spurt he had in the third quarter to trim the Suns’ lead down to seven, the seven-year pro didn’t have a major impact on the game’s outcome.

Whether it was Channing Frye, Markieff Morris or occasionally Marcus Morris, the Suns seemed content to let Aldridge get his touches, as long as they came primarily outside the paint.

How will Eric Bledsoe’s potential return impact the lineup and team chemistry?

For the sixth straight game, Eric Bledsoe sat out due to a left shin contusion. Before the game, Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said that an MRI on the shin came back negative, but that until he proves that he can play, the coaching staff will continue to game plan as if he won’t be available.

Gerald Green continues to make that process a little bit easier with each passing game. Although having Bledsoe in the backcourt certainly provides the Suns a luxury of having an interchangeable one-two punch at the defensive end against dynamic guards like Damian Lillard, Green has filled in admirably in his absence.

In Wednesday’s win over the Blazers, Green didn’t shoot particularly well (3-of-14 from the field) but he reached double figures, hit two big three-point shots during the Suns’ 19-point second quarter turnaround and held Wesley Matthews to a rather quite night (eight points and five rebounds) from the field.

Can the Suns close out the fourth quarter?

The Suns have had their fair share of issues closing out teams in the fourth quarter, including earlier this month in a 90-89 loss to the Blazers.

So they decided to make that issue a priority coming out of halftime. After erasing a 16-point deficit in the second quarter, Phoenix came out of locker room and scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to push its lead up to 13.

After the Blazers trimmed their deficit back down to single digits, Marcus and Markieff Morris took over, scoring 11 of the Suns’ final 13 points in the period. On the night, the Morris brothers combined for 34 points and seven points off the pine.

A 7-2 run to begin the fourth officially put the game out of reach, as the Blazers never got to within single digits the rest of the night.

  • Sunsn7

    “GOODWIN!”

  • http://none Go Phx

    Who we gettin in the playoffs? We could upset certain teams……

  • Sunsn7

    Goran Dragic 31 pts 10 ast?

    Something tells me Bledsoe will be back for the next game…

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Wow…Amazing comeback by the Suns.
    Lots of accolades to go around but Dragic, in particular, was brilliant.

  • SHAZAM

    hahaha good one sunsn7 did anyone watch the portland broadcast? or heard the rumor of bledsoe wanting to be traded? http://www.sunsdial.com/2013/11/phoenix-suns-bledsoe-trade.html?showComment=1385617524917#c6153270893801716457

  • SHAZAM

    “Goran Dragic is averaging 22.6 PPG, 9 assists (2.4 TO), 4.2 rebounds on 51% FG and 45% 3′s in past 5 games.”

  • foreveris2long

    Goran was incredible. his motor never stopped but yet he played under control with just the right amount of swag. It was beautiful to see. Whatever coaches are working with Frye and Markief, they could be in line for a big raise. If they get relatively consistent with their low post game, these coaches might be deemed miracle workers. The Suns playing so well and getting a low post game, is really difficult to believe.

    What a game!!!

  • Scott

    Dragic was having some flashbacks to his Spurs game and some “Nashbacks” as well.

    Awesome game from him!

  • vtsunrise

    What a game! I am so glad I forked up for League Pass Broadband. What a joy to sit down and watch the desiccation of a team with an 11-win streak. They sucked the lifeblood of the Blazers dry in the Phoenix sun.

    Hats off to the coaching staff for making the bottom-pegged squad a force to be respected, and enjoyed.

    From nba.com:
    “I’m glad we don’t have to play Phoenix until April. After we got a lead, they completely outplayed us; hats off to them. Playing hard is a talent. It’s underrated as a talent.”
    –Blazers coach Terry Stotts

  • vtsunrise

    Per Coro/AZC:

    “I like my old role,” Dragic said. “All my life, I played the point guard. It’s a learning process to play position two but all the good teams have to do that. They have to adjust.”

    Dragic remains eager to carry out that plan too, telling Bledsoe after the game, “Let’s get this started.”

  • vtsunrise

    Speaking of “busted” (reference to headline above), check out Jason Kidd’s classic timeout move.

    “HIT ME!”

  • Lance

    Great fighter GOGI, go, go, go.

  • Suns Fan in Portland

    @Shazam ? “did anyone watch the portland broadcast?”

    I had the sound off, but I can verify what was said in the linked article: “they (the Blazers broadcasters) are notoriously speculative and some of the worst announcers in the league.” Mike Rice is so appallingly bad that Lance Banks would hire him. His commentating is like a horny 14 year old boy mixed with a dementia patient, except instead of the game he’s watching Slam Dunk Ernest. I don’t even know how it’s possible to be so consistently wrong. Then sometimes we’re treated to Terry Porter as the guy on the sideline, and if you remember his incoherent between quarter mumbling as a coach, you can imagine the looks of bewilderment on the player’s faces when they’re trying to figure out what he’s talking about… (as an aside; I’ve always thought all one needs to know about a coach can be learned from their quarter-break interviews. Listening to Terry when he was coach, I thought if I was a player on his c league ymca team I wouldn’t buy into his system… or notice he was still talking.) But then again Terry Porter sounds like a basketball genius and oratory master compared to world champion homer Mike Rice… But I digress, pretzels and beer mostly. If Mike and Mike reported it, like a Ray Comfort evolution lesson, it’s probably wrong.

  • DBreezy

    Booty spanking delivered, enjoy some turkey.

  • Voqar

    I was about ready to stop watching the game (not something I ever do) since the suns didn’t look engaged at all early, but stuck with it, and glad I did since about that time they flipped a switch and dug in.

    The suns are reliant on outside shooting but they have plenty of people who can shoot. If they can maintain their defensive focus and energy, avoid sloppy offense and turnovers, and keep their heads, they do pretty well.

    As much as I’d like to see the suns get a top 3 draft pick I’d selfishly rather watch them win.