NBA: Short-handed Suns manhandle Trail Blazers
Cameron Johnson scored 20 points and Deandre Ayton added 18 points and eight rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns roll to a 120-90 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The Suns avoided their first three-game skid of the season with the convincing win that came without the services of backcourt stars Devin Booker (COVID-19 protocol) and Chris Paul (fractured thumb).
Phoenix’s Jae Crowder registered 15 points, five rebounds and five steals. Mikal Bridges also scored 15 points, Torrey Craig tallied 13 and Landry Shamet had 12.
Brandon Williams scored 14 points, Trendon Watford recorded 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Drew Eubanks added 13 points and eight rebounds for Portland, which lost by at least 30 points for the third straight game. The Trail Blazers dropped those contests by an average of 33 points.
Anfernee Simons had 11 points and six assists, while CJ Elleby and Josh Hart scored 10 points apiece for Portland.
The Suns shot 50 percent from the field, including 14 of 36 (38.9 percent) from 3-point range. Johnson made 4 of 5 long-range attempts.
Deandre Ayton knocks down the turnaround jumper for his 10th point of the 3rd quarter on 5-for-5 FGM!
He's up to 18 PTS (9-12 FGM) on ESPN pic.twitter.com/kSU4QHxMRR
— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2022
JaVale McGee contributed nine rebounds and four blocked shots in just 14 minutes as Phoenix posted a 46-35 rebounding edge. Cameron Payne had eight assists in 20 minutes after missing the previous 16 games with a wrist injury.
Portland shot 38.5 percent overall and was 11 of 31 (35.5 percent) from behind the arc.
Phoenix led by 15 at halftime and continued to stretch the advantage through the third quarter. McGee’s two free throws pushed the lead above 20 for the first time at 85-64 with 3:22 left in the period.
Johnson’s 3-pointer with 34.1 seconds to go gave the Suns a 92-69 edge entering the fourth quarter. Aaron Holiday’s floater pushed the lead to 102-72 with 10:05 left in the game. The margin topped out at 33 points.
Bridges and Crowder scored 13 points apiece in the first half as the Suns built a 63-48 lead.
Portland trailed by two after a basket by Watford with 6:57 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Suns scored 25 of the last 37 points in the half to hold the 15-point halftime advantage.