PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton added 19 and the Phoenix Suns kept rolling with a 132-100 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Phoenix has won nine of 10 and put this one away late in the third quarter.
Booker made a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining and Cam Johnson followed with another 3 at the buzzer to give the Suns a 100-71 lead. Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 16 points in the first half and finished with 24. Nassir Little added 18 off the bench.
- Devin Booker
Devin Booker is one of the most elite scorers in the entire NBA and it really showed on Monday. In the first quarter, Booker found himself utilizing his jumper with his back to the basket, racking up 17 points in the first quarter which kept the Suns offense rolling even without their veteran point guard Chris Paul having a good game. Booker has always put up big numbers against the Blazers, and it continued with Booker finishing with 34 points and only missing five shots on the night.
- Poor 3-point shooting
For a team who shoots the ball relatively well, the Blazers really struggled from beyond the arc. With the way the league is now, many teams live and die by the 3-point shot. When it’s falling, the team seems unstoppable, but when it’s not, the offense can seem a little stagnant. I think we certainly saw that from the Blazers on Monday, it also didn’t help that Lillard didn’t have his best shooting night from beyond the arc going just 1-7 from 3-point range.
- Phoenix just got hot
The Suns have been extremely good this season offensively, ranking in the Top 10 in the league. What stood out the most tonight on the offensive side of things for the Suns was their 3-point shooting. At one point in the third quarter, the Suns were shooting a red hot 52% from beyond the arc. Even with defenders in their face, the Suns just couldn’t miss which led to the blowout loss for the Blazers.
- Turnovers for the Blazers
The Blazers have averaged just a hair above 11 turnovers a game. In the first quarter alone, the Blazers had seven. This really made it hard for the Blazers to find their consistent groove offensively. On top of that, the Suns racked up 15 fast-break points which was a direct correlation of the Blazers not taking care of the ball. Against a hot team like the Suns, turnovers were the last thing the Blazers needed.
- Poor third quarter
Well, it hasn’t been as much of a problem this season as we have seen in the past, but the Blazers really struggled in the third quarter. With the Suns leading by just 9 going into the half, the Blazers were still within striking distance in this game. But, regardless what it was, the Blazers did not come out in the third quarter and match the Sun’s energy and performance which opened the door for a big blow out.
- Miscommunication defensively
Too many times in the match up against the Suns the Blazers defensively seemed to lose their guy. What stood out the most was the third quarter which was their worst quarter of the game. The Suns had plenty of opportunities to step into a rhythm uncontested three point shot, which also led to their 3-point percentage being so high.