The Portland Trail Blazers concluded its quick two-game homestand on Saturday night with the Phoenix Suns in town. Entering Saturday’s game, Portland had won nine consecutive games against Phoenix, including five straight at home.
It took a little over a quarter for Portland to get its offense clicking, but once the Blazers pulled away they never looked back. The Trail Blazers cruised to a 125-120 win over the Suns and most importantly the starters got some much-needed rest.
Portland now improves to 40-26 overall.
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers home victory over the Suns:
1. Slow start for both teams
The Blazers and Suns both looked a bit off on the offensive end to start the game on Saturday. But hey, it’s game 65 for the Blazers. Going 8-for-26 in the first quarter can happen at this point in the year, luckily, for Portland the Suns had a worse time on the offensive end early.
This game had the making of a trap game for Portland after coming off such an intense, playoff like game against the Thunder on Thursday.
The Blazers proved to not let that be the case in the second quarter though. The ball was moving more and the Blazers got out and ran in the second, which created some separation. Midway through the second, Jusuf Nurkic and Moe Harkless got the Moda Center crowd going for what seemed like the first time in the game after throwing down back-to-back dunks. The crowd needed those jams because as mentioned before this was a very different kind of game than Thursday night.
2. Hood suffers injury
During the final minute of the second quarter, Blazers PR announced that wing Rodney Hood (right hip soreness) would not return to the game.
Hood played just nine minutes and was 1-for-1 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to score four points.
If Hood’s injury is a serious one, that will obviously be a big blow to the Blazers’ second unit. Hood has played 21.8 minutes per game in his last 10 contests with Portland.
3. McCollum pours it on the Suns
It should come as no surprise that CJ McCollum had an efficient shooting night against the Suns. In his previous two games this season against Phoenix, McCollum averaged 20.0 points on 53.3% shooting from the field and 50.0% from three.
In Saturday’s win, McCollum was an efficient 10-of-13 including 4-for-7 from deep to score 24 points after just three quarters. It was nice too see McCollum have a bounce back game after shooting 9-for-24 on Thursday night against the Thunder.
With this blowout win, McCollum played just 30 minutes, while Damian Lillard played 29 minutes and finished with 24 points. Anytime you can get your star backcourt playing less minutes, it’s always a good thing, especially at this point in the season. And don’t forget, this Suns team swept the Milwaukee Bucks this season so a blowout victory was not a given.
NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers tip-off a three-game road trip on Tuesday night when the Blazers travel to Los Angeles with a matchup against the Clippers at 7:30pm. Our pregame coverage starts at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.
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