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June 21, 2024

Booker, Suns Edge Undermanned Blazers 127-116

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Jan 15, 2024

The Phoenix Suns scraped past the injury-plagued Portland Trail Blazers 127-116 on Sunday night behind Devin Booker’s 34 points. The Suns rallied in the second half to overcome a 12-point deficit and improve to 20-18 on the season.

Suns Overcome Slow Start

Phoenix got off to another sluggish start, trailing 33-27 after the first quarter. Booker scored 14 points but the rest of the team shot just 3-of-16 from the field. The Suns gave up several easy buckets in transition and failed to match Portland’s energy early on.

“We just looked a step slow defensively,” head coach Monty Williams said. “They were getting whatever they wanted and we weren’t making them work for anything.”

The Blazers extended their lead to 64-52 at halftime, repeatedly beating the Suns down the floor for layups and open threes. Anfernee Simons led the way with 16 first-half points. Phoenix struggled offensively outside of Booker, who had 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Suns vs. Blazers Box Score

||||||||
|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|Player|MIN|PTS|REB|AST|STL|BLK|TO|
|Devin Booker|36|34|5|5|1|0|5
|Bradley Beal|33|21|4|1|0|0|1
|Deandre Ayton|DNP||||||
|Jerami Grant|34|15|5|1|1|1|1
|Anfernee Simons|29|29|3|7|0|0|3

Suns Rally in Second Half

Phoenix came out with much more energy in the third quarter, quickly erasing an 18-point deficit. Booker stayed aggressive on offense, either scoring or assisting on the Suns’ first eight field goals of the second half. His pull-up jumper with 3:39 left knotted the score at 83.

“We just had more pace, more movement,” Booker said about the comeback. “I tried to set the tone coming out in attack mode. It got contagious.”

Mikal Bridges gave Phoenix its first lead on a corner three with 1:46 to go in the third. The Suns took a 94-91 advantage into the fourth quarter after outscoring Portland 42-27 in the period.

The Suns extended their lead to nine points early in the fourth behind the play of Bradley Beal. The newly-acquired guard scored 10 straight points, including back-to-back threes.

“He’s a walking bucket,” Booker said about his new teammate. “Having another elite scorer takes pressure off me. It’s going to be tough for teams to stop us.”

Blazers Stay Close Despite Injuries

Portland kept within striking distance despite missing three of their top six scorers. Deandre Ayton, Malik Monk and Jusuf Nurkic were all sidelined with injuries.

Anfernee Simons did his best to keep the Blazers in it, scoring 18 of his 29 points in the first half. Rookie Shaedon Sharpe added a career-high 24 points while Jerami Grant chipped in 15.

The Blazers cut the lead to 120-116 with 58.5 seconds left after an Eric Gordon layup. But Chris Paul answered with a floater on the next possession to make it 122-116. Portland then missed its next three shots and Booker closed it out at the line.

“We showed a lot of fight being down so many guys,” head coach Chauncey Billups said. “But we didn’t do enough defensively.”

What’s Next

The Suns continue their road trip Tuesday against the Warriors. Golden State will be looking to avenge an earlier 30-point blowout loss to Phoenix last month.

Meanwhile, the Blazers have a day off before hosting the Rockets on Tuesday. It’s unclear if Ayton, Monk or Nurkic will be able to return for that game. Portland has now lost four straight to fall to 10-28 on the year – the second-worst record in the West.

So in summary, the Suns rallied from a slow start to knock off an undermanned Blazers squad 127-116. Booker scored 34 points to lead Phoenix while Simons paced Portland with 29. It wasn’t easy but the Suns made enough plays late to get their second straight win.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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