Devin Booker

Who you got? Here are the Players Only NBA 2K Tournament odds

Who you got? Here are the Players Only NBA 2K Tournament odds

Get ready to watch some of your favorite NBA stars in action!

With the NBA hiatus going on three weeks now, fans will get a chance to watch virtual basketball with NBA players competing against each other while playing the video game, NBA 2K.

The tournament will feature 16 of the NBA's best 2K players with Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond some of the featured names.

Trail Blazers starting center Hassan Whiteside will represent Portland in the first-ever 2K Players Only Tournament. 

And you can bet there are already odds out there with the tournament tipping off Friday.

Tuesday evening, SportsBetting.ag set odds for the 16-team tournament.

Devin Booker is the favorite, while Kevin Durant is right behind him, according to SportsBetting.ag. Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Wednesday, that Durant has been cleared of coronavirus after testing positive a couple of weeks ago. 

As for Whiteside, he comes in sixth on the odds-on favorite list, but he is the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 2K rating of 87.

NBA 2K Players Tournament SportsBetting.Ag Odds

Devin Booker        +350  

Kevin Durant        +400    
Deandre Ayton     +600    
Trae Young            +800    
Donovan Mitchell  +900    

Hassan Whiteside  +1000    
Rui Hachimura        +1200    
Andre Drummond   +1600    
Pat Beverley             +1600    

Demarcus Cousins    +1800    
Zach Lavine                +1800    
Harrison Barnes         +2000    
Michael Porter Jr.        +2000    
Montrezl Harrell         +2000    
Derrick Jones Jr.         +2200    
Domantas Sabonis    +2250    

Not only can bets be placed on players, there will also be a handful of prop bets, including which conference will have more players advance to Round 2 and whether or not any games will go to overtime.
You can check out the updated odds right here.

The tournament will air on ESPN this weekend. 

How Trevor Ariza's love for Devin Booker's game made for a lockdown defensive effort

How Trevor Ariza's love for Devin Booker's game made for a lockdown defensive effort

There have been several instances over the years when a veteran player wants to put a younger player in his place.

Tuesday night was not one of them, even if it did look that way, at times.

With a final score of 121-105, the Trail Blazers got their revenge on the Phoenix Suns after falling to them last Friday in Phoenix.

Portland’s defense stepped up. 

And, Trevor Ariza made young guard Devin Booker earn his 29 points.

When Ariza blocked Booker’s six-foot shot midway through the second quarter and then stood over him telling him what was up, one may wonder if Ariza had a little extra juice defending a young gun like Booker.

“No, I’m playing against an opponent that’s all it is, unless my opponent throws the ball between my legs,” Ariza joked. 

Okay, noted -- There is only extra motivation to put a young player in his place when it is Trae Young dribbling the ball through Ariza's legs, which happened on Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

“Don’t do that [expletive] again,” Ariza told Young after delivering that message with a hard shove, which earned Ariza a flagrant foul.

 

But, Young got the message. 

Now, bounce back to Tuesday night (not between the legs), and Ariza shared how his love of the game and of Booker’s game in particular has been the biggest help in defending Booker.

“I watch a lot of basketball,” Ariza said with a smile. “Players that I happen to have an affection for, I watch them a lot more, so Devin is a guy that I have watched since he has been in the NBA and I’ve taken a liking to his game, so I know his game a little bit.”

Nine of Booker’s 29 points Tuesday night came at the free throw line and more often than not he scored when someone other than Ariza was defending him.

Besides Hassan Whiteside, Ariza is the other defensive minded player that the Blazers have been able to turn to in locking down their opponents best players.

When defending Booker, Ariza said he made sure to put as much pressure as possible on the former Kentucky Wildcat to have him try to perform his best. 

Just try not to let him get comfortable, crowd his space and try not to let him do things that he normally does and try to make him be as great as he can be or as great as he is every night. -- Trail Blazers veteran Trevor Ariza postgame on defending Devin Booker

Booker has reached 30+ points 24 different times this season, which puts him in the top seven NBA players who have at least 30 points on a given night.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was pleased with his team's defensive effort overall Tuesday night with Portland limiting Phoenix to 34.4 percent from behind the arc.

Coach Stotts also gave credit where credit was due with Ariza matched up against Booker.

“That’s the way he plays. He takes the challenge, we put him on the best player, and he takes that challenge and takes a lot of pride in it, and I thought he made Booker work for his points. Like I said, Trevor is a pro and he knows why he’s had as long of a career as he’s had, he makes shots and he can defend,” Stotts said.

Ariza didn’t exert all of his energy on the defensive end, either.

The veteran wing player was the second leading scorer for Portland with 22 points, only behind Damian Lillard’s 25.

This is the fourth time this season that Ariza has reached 20+ points.

Being able to bring the extra effort at both ends is what impressed the Blazers team captain the most when evaluating Ariza’s performance.

He did what he always does. Obviously, on the defensive end, but just the spacing that he provides us – he can knock down those open shots, he’s knocking down open threes, he’s slashing – he’s just a good basketball player. He has a good feel for how to play the game. So to do what he does defensively and then to come down on the offensive end and just find those spots, find those spaces and help us win on that end as well is huge for our team. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point Damian Lillard said postgame

Now the Blazers will welcome in the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently sit 3.5 games ahead of Portland in the eighth and final playoff spot.

Memphis leads the season series 1-0 with two more games to be played between the Blazers and Grizzlies, both of which will be in Portland.

The defensive minded Blazers of Tuesday night will need to continue their extra effort and talking more on that end of the floor to continue their winning ways.

Just ask Ariza.

“I think for us, the most important thing is communicating and giving maximum effort on defense. When you are hitting shots and playing well offensively, I guess it’s natural to play harder on defense, but for us when the offense isn’t clicking we have to figure out and continue to stay locked in on the defensive end to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Devin Booker: 'Dame is one of my favorite players to watch'

Devin Booker: 'Dame is one of my favorite players to watch'

It was just four days ago that Damian Lillard suffered a right groin strain and then suggested that Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker should be his replacement for the NBA All-Star Game.

And that’s exactly what the league decided to do.

Despite not participating, Lillard was still introduced alongside Booker before Sunday’s game.  

Before action tipped off, TNT’s Allie LaForce spoke with Booker about how Lillard had mentioned that he was one of his favorite players to watch.

Booker feels the same way.

It’s a mutual respect thing. Obviously, Dame is one of my favorite players to watch too. So, I want to go out there and do what he would do – get a few buckets and hopefully get the win. -- Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker said pregame

This season, Booker is averaging 26.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds.

Lillard spoke with the media on Saturday about how much of a fan he is of Booker’s game.

“I watch a lot of their games, just because I like to watch him play.”

The 2018 NBA Three-Point Contest Champ will now have Lillard on the bench cheering him on in tonight’s All-Star Game. 

Instant Analysis: Despite Suns' hot shooting early, Blazers have last laugh in Phoenix

Instant Analysis: Despite Suns' hot shooting early, Blazers have last laugh in Phoenix

With so many fouls and turnovers in the first quarter, the Blazers struggled early to keep up with the hot-shooting Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix jumped out to an 11-3 lead Monday night.

With Portland having three days in between their last game, it looked like they had to shake off the rust. Shaking off that rust took about two full quarters.

Damian Lillard then opened up the third quarter with two three-pointers to ignite the Blazers. Portland’s first lead of the night came at the 3:51 mark of the third quarter after CJ McCollum knocked down a 26-foot three-pointer.

After outscoring the Suns 31-21 in the third quarter, the Blazers were able to come up with the victory.  

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 111, Suns 110

Here are three quick takeaways from Monday’s win:

1.  So. Many. Blazers. Fouls.

Portland committed a total of 12 fouls in the first 12 minutes of play. Damian Lillard was called for three of those fouls in his first nine minutes of action. That forced Blazers head coach Terry Stotts to sub Lillard out earlier than normal, and it also knocked Lillard of his rhythm. It took the Trail Blazers All-Star point guard 13 minutes before he scored his first field goal.

Lillard had just two points in the first quarter. But early foul trouble didn’t hold him down. The Blazers team captain finished with 27 points. Carmelo Anthony also came on strong in the scoring department in the second half. Melo was getting it done on both ends too.

2. Suns scorch Blazers from inside and out early

Early on, the Suns were cutting hard to the rim and able to dominate in the paint. Phoenix also eventually got it going from deep too.  At the half, the Suns were shooting 58.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three.

And as Phoenix has done all season, they shared the ball. The Suns had 67 first-half points on 19 assists.

3. Thank goodness for McCollum

It was apparent with Lillard getting into foul trouble, CJ McCollum took it upon himself to help his team stay within striking distance. Whether it was his active hands on the defensive end, his hot shooting, or his ability to find his teammates, McCollum was a key piece in the Blazers escaping the desert with a win.   

Up Next: The Trail Blazers head back to Portland to host the Golden State Warriors Wednesday. The Blazers and Warriors will tip-off at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

As Damian Lillard adds a couple milestones, Trail Blazers take care of business

As Damian Lillard adds a couple milestones, Trail Blazers take care of business

PHOENIX – It was one of those take-care-of-business nights for the Trail Blazers.

After tough games at Utah and Oklahoma City, Portland finished a three-game road trip against the Phoenix Suns and their 11-38 record. And the Phoenix Suns without DeAndre Ayton, P.J. Warren and Richaun Holmes.

But you still have to play the game. There are no forfeits and no surrenders. And besides, funny things happen in the NBA.

But not on this night, when Portland routed the Suns in the second half on the way to a 120-106 win.

“We knew this was going to be a tough trip,” said Damian Lillard, who had another milestone night. “With Utah, Oklahoma City and then finishing here – we knew they had wins against really good teams. They have beaten Milwaukee, they beat Boston, they beat Dallas, they beat Toronto. They’ve beaten some top teams. When you have a team like that, they get up for these games.

“We weathered the storm in the first half, when we didn’t play very well and then took over the game in the second half.”

Lillard made a couple special things happen Thursday.

He scored 24 to lead his team but with his eighth point he passed Kiki Vandeweghe for the most points through the first 50 games of a season in team history. (Vandeweghe had 1,294 in 1986-87.) And with his three-point field goal, he became the second player in NBA history to make a three-pointer in each of his team’s first 50 games of a season. (Dennis Scott did it for Orlando in 1995-96.)

“I’m not trying to keep it up,” Lillard said of the three-point streak. “I shoot enough of them that I’m going to make one in a game. If it’s going to keep going, it’s going to keep going – but I’m not going to go out there and say, ‘Let me make sure I make at least one three.’”

Portland trailed by a point after the first quarter, the result of letting Devin Booker get loose on the fast break. Booker scored 18 in the first period but got only nine more points after that.

The Blazers got 16 from Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered through a 4-13 shooting night, 20 from CJ McCollum, who made 4 of his 8 three-pointers, 20 from Jake Layman, who had eight rebounds and 17 points from Seth Curry, who hit 7 of his 13 shots.

“The first half was frustrating,” Coach Terry Stotts said, “We missed a lot of shots at the rim early on. We gave up too many transition points in the first quarter. We played much better in the second half, obviously.”

“I thought Damian had a really good floor game the whole game. I thought he controlled (the game) when things weren’t going well offensively -- he got to the rim, got his hands on a lot of balls. I thought his leadership was really good when we weren’t necessarily playing our best basketball. It was good to see the second unit pull away early in the fourth.”

Trail Blazers make second half adjustments and find sparks off their bench in win over Phoenix Suns

Trail Blazers make second half adjustments and find sparks off their bench in win over Phoenix Suns

Foul trouble, a pinky injury, and a ton of fastbreak points and that was all in the first quarter of action between the Blazers and Suns on Thursday night.

The Blazers were able to overcome whatever was thrown their way in the desert as Portland beats Phoenix 120-106 and heads home with a 2-1 record to finish their current road trip.

Dealing with the cards you're dealt

Before the game tipped off, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts talked about how playing against this young team who is without their top two centers, he expected a fast paced game with the Suns going with small ball lineups.

And boy, was he right.

In the first quarter, 19 of the Suns’ 31 points were fast break points in comparison to the Blazers two fast break points (out of 30 in the quarter). Phoenix finished with 23 first half fast break points.

Often times young teams would much rather try and get out and run instead of waiting to setup a half court set and that’s exactly what the Suns did on Thursday night.

The Blazers were able to stay in the game in the first half with help from their bench and second chance points. Plus, Portland made adjustments in the second half to get out and run themselves. Portland finished the game with 16 fast break points of their own.

Some fans out there might think a game like this against the lowly Suns team is a waste of time, but to witness Portland making adjustment and controlling tempo is encouraging because they are showing the ability to adjust to the style of play of their opponent. You hear it all the time – postseason series are all about adjustments. No, the Suns are not even close to a playoff team, but thinking long term, it’s good to see the Blazers play the small ball and match what was thrown their way.

“We gave up too many transition points in the first quarter. We played much better in the second half, obviously… I think the fact that we missed shots, we didn’t necessarily get back quick, it was all tied together (in the first half),” Coach Stotts told reporters postgame.

“We weathered that storm in the first half… The second half we made our adjustments and took over the game," Damian Lillard said postgame in the locker room.

The Devin Booker effect on CJ McCollum

In Thursday’s win, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum played just over eight minutes in the first half, but was still able to score 11 points.

For the opening minutes of the game, it looked like everyone was in for a treat – McCollum and Suns shooting guard Devin Booker were putting on a show. The two were exchanging buckets, but Booker got the better of McCollum early.

The Suns fourth year guard was in attack mode and that meant McCollum was vulnerable to pick up two quick fouls.

McCollum then picked up his third foul at the 3:46 mark in the first quarter and was sent to the bench for the rest of the half.

Booker made the Blazers pay to going 7-for-8 from the free throw line. He finished the game with 27. But it really is no surprise that Booker made such a big impact on McCollum and on the Blazers – that’s what he does for this Suns team.

Lillard knows how important it was to slow down Booker in the second half.

“He was getting downhill, getting fouled, getting to go one-on-one and a guy that can score that well with that much skill, he’s gonna score points if you allow him to play that free and easy and I think as the half went on… We started to do a little bit better… In the third quarter we were there. We loaded up, made him play against bodies that led to a few turnovers. We made the right adjustments,” Lillard said.     

Aminu hand injury

Al-Farouq Aminu headed straight to the Trail Blazers locker room after suffering a left pinky injury at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter and that meant the Blazers rotation was all out of sorts in the first half, especially with McCollum also on the bench with three fouls.

The good news is Aminu says his hand feels fine after coming back and playing in the second half.

“I’ve dislocated my fingers before, but never where I saw the bone a little bit… Thankful for the doctors here, they did a great job… I feel good. My hand feels okay,” Aminu told our Dwight Jaynes after the game.

Aminu played 16 minutes and had seven points and five rebounds in the win.
This season we have seen many different Blazers’ lineups with Maurice Harkless dealing with his knee issues, so this was nothing new to the Blazers and the next man had to step up.

Luckily for the Blazers, two role players did just that in the second half.

The Layman and Curry factor

Portland entered the fourth quarter with an 88-76 lead over the Suns. Why is this important? Well, if you have not been keeping up with the Blazers, you should know that before this game, the Blazers were undefeated when leading after the first three quarters (29-0). On the flipside, yes, that means Portland has not had a come from behind win if they were not leading to start the fourth.

The Blazers defense showed up big in the second half as Portland was able slow down the Suns late in the third and into the fourth quarter. The Blazers also found some welcomed scoring from its bench, particularly from Jake Layman and Seth Curry. Layman scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while Curry added 17 points after going 7-for-13 from the field and 3-of-7 from three.

Layman has now scored 44 points total against the Suns in the two games played against Phoenix this season.  

“It was a game made for him. It was up and down. They played a small lineup. I think it catered to his style of game,” Stotts said on Layman’s performance. 

The Blazers have been searching for consistency from their bench. Could Layman be that consistent scorer? With Game No. 50 in the books, only time will tell.

But for now, Layman continues to play well against the Suns and the third quarter streak lives on and Portland will look to play another good three quarters vs. Atlanta on Saturday.

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Phoenix Suns

usatsi_10654079.jpg
USA Today Images

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Phoenix Suns

Thursday's game marks the second of three meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Suns this season as Portland concludes its three-game road trip tonight. Phoenix holds the worst record in the Western Conference right now at 11-38 and now injuries are starting to pile up. Both Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov addressed the media before tonight’s tip-off.

Suns Injury Update: Deandre Ayton (left ankle) and Richuan Holmes (right foot) have been downgraded to OUT for tonight’s game vs. the Blazers. They now join Juwan Evans (G League), George King (G League) and T.J. Warren (right ankle) who were all initially listed as out.

Coach Kokoskov said Ayton is day-to-day. The Suns rookie center has missed the last two games with a left ankle sprain. In eight games before the injury, Ayton was averaging 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.

With the injuries, the Suns will have a different looking starting five tonight. Kokoskov is going to start Dragan Bender, Devin Booker, De’Anthony Melton, Mikal Bridges, and Josh Jackson.

Coach Kokoskov also talked about how having a young team can lead to more scuffles on the court. He feels those are just “basketball plays” though after Booker was in an altercation during Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota.  

In Tuesday’s game, Booker and Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng were both ejected after a fight broke out. They both rushed out into the tunnel to talk things out. It was during the third quarter when Booker and Dieng got tangled up and then exchanged words after Booker had elbowed Dieng. The two were charged with double technical fouls, which then led to the automatic ejections. The Suns ended up losing the game, 118-91. Booker had 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes before being ejected.

Hear from Coach Kokoskov right here:

Blazers Injury Update: The Blazers had listed Daman Lillard (right hand contusion) as questionable, but at shootaround this morning Lillard told reporters he would play tonight. Per Blazers PR, Lillard is available, but Nik Stauskas (left knee soreness) is out.

Coach Stotts’ pregame media interview was short and to the point. He expects a lot of small ball play tonight and he expects the Suns to play at a fast pace.

Hear from Coach Stotts right here:

Evan Turner helps lock down Devin Booker, then praises Suns' rising star

Evan Turner helps lock down Devin Booker, then praises Suns' rising star

PHOENIX – If the Phoenix Suns were “embarrassed” Wednesday by the Trail Blazers, as coach Earl Watson suggested after the 124-76 defeat, Evan Turner says they can take solace in something: the will of Devin Booker.

It was a big night for Turner, who earned the spot start in place of the suspended CJ McCollum, an assignment that pitted him against Booker, of the NBA’s most promising offensive stars. The marquee defensive assignment was what Turner wanted, and it was a spotlight start to his quest to become All-NBA Defense this season.

“I think I did great,’’ Turner said matter-of-factly after Booker was held to 6-of-17 shooting and 12 points – more than 10 points below his season average last season.

But Turner wasn’t boasting. In fact, he wanted to talk more about Booker than himself.

What stood out to Turner was the way Booker kept fighting on a night that was frustrating both on a personal level and a team level. The Blazers led by as many as 58 and Booker could never get anything going, constantly running into the swarming arms of Turner, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, or the mobility of big man Jusuf Nurkic.

“Sometimes when you have young kids who don’t win ever, it seems like they become content with it,’’ Turner said. “But I think he has a next level, where he wants to win.’’

Turner could sense the frustration of the 20-year-old throughout the night, and it impressed him.

“He cares. I think that’s what I respect about him the most,’’ Turner said. “You go up against certain young guys in the league and they are … they get (an) NBA (attitude) … but I think that kid genuinely cares.’’

Turner said before the season he wanted to publicize his NBA All-Defense aspirations, much like Draymond Green did, in order to draw attention to his work on that side of the ball.

“I think it would be cool, and it’s an attainable goal,’’ Turner said. “Obviously, you have to put it out there first so the masses can get the idea to watch you play defense. You saw Draymond lobby for Defensive Player of the Year for four years, and he just finally got it.

“But sometimes, when it comes down to it, I think I’m an underrated defender. I will slide from guarding a 5-foot-9 guy to a 6-9 guy. So, I don’t know what it takes to be called elite, but I think I can be an elite defender in this league,’’ Turner said.

Wednesday against Booker and the Suns was a nice addition to his defensive portfolio, but Turner wanted to make sure his satisfaction with his defense wasn’t taken as a slight on Booker.

“I mean, not to knock the kid … he is super talented, super good - everything people think,’’ Turner said. “And he has a bright future because he can score in several different ways, and I think he is going to get even better. I just hope they are able to turn the corner. He has to understand there are going to be nights like this, where nothing clicks. That’s just how it goes. But I definitely respect the skillset he has as well as his knowledge of the game. You don’t see that much.’’

Breakfast with the Blazers: Evan Turner and his lofty defensive goal

Breakfast with the Blazers: Evan Turner and his lofty defensive goal

This summer, during a conversation with one of Evan Turner’s closest friends, my eyebrows were raised.

Jelani Floyd, who is one of Turner’s childhood friends from Chicago, had just returned with Turner from a 12-day, nine-city shoe tour in China. Floyd was telling me about their trip, and Turner’s workouts, and how he had witnessed a spark ignite in Turner.

Turner had started doing pilates, was working on his outside shot, and had set a lofty goal that caused me to pause and raise my brow.

Turner, Floyd told me, had set his sights on becoming named All-NBA Defense this season.

I bring that conversation up because Turner and his defense suddenly figures to be a central storyline in the Trail Blazers’ season opener on Wednesday in Phoenix, when Turner will likely spend much of his night defending Suns’ rising star Devin Booker.

On Saturday, the Blazers were hit with a bombshell that CJ McCollum will be suspended for the opener after he left the bench last week during a preseason altercation between Caleb Swanigan and Alex Len.

With McCollum out, coach Terry Stotts essentially has two options for a starter at shooting guard -- Pat Connaughton or Turner – and although I have no idea which way Stotts is leaning, I would imagine either way, Turner will be checking Booker extensively on Wednesday.

And hey, if there was ever a way to kick off an All-Defense campaign, putting the clamps on a gifted scorer like Booker – who at age 20 last season scored 70 points at Boston – is a heckuva start.

Booker in four games last season against Portland averaged 24.3 points while shooting 44 percent from the field and 3-of-12 from three-point range. For the season, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged 22.1 points. 

Turner’s first assignment comes on the heels of what was an encouraging preseason for him. He had the NBA’s best defensive rating (74.2) in the preseason, which came while he guarding literally every position on the floor, while also showing heady passing and unstoppable moves in the post.

Last season, among players who played 20 or more games, Turner ranked 14th among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, a couple tiers below the top group of Kyle Anderson (San Antonio), Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City), Tony Allen (then Memphis), Danny Green (San Antonio) and Victor Oladipo (then Oklahoma City).

The defensive real plus-minus metric is influenced by which teammates you play with, and Turner this season figures to have a better figures playing more with Jusuf Nurkic, and less with the traded Allen Crabbe, whose defensive numbers last season were below average. 

Either way, Turner’s All-Defense goal is more of a novelty than the actual point: Turner is entering this season with a reinforced and perhaps even sharpened defensive mindset. Any time a player not only buys into defense, but embraces it … it usually bodes well for the team.

So no CJ for the opener? Total bummer.

But let’s watch Evan Turner and his defense against Booker and the Suns. It just might raise your eyebrows.

Today's Blazers links:

After being suspended for opener,  CJ McCollum tells NBC Sports Northwest "Lesson learned."

The Oregonian's Mike Richman details Jusuf Nurkic's summer workouts, and notes the big man wants to stay in Portland

Blazers wake up in the fourth quarter and put away Phoenix for sixth straight win

Blazers wake up in the fourth quarter and put away Phoenix for sixth straight win

It wasn’t until things got a little uneasy in the fourth quarter that the Trail Blazers woke up Saturday and remembered they were in a playoff race.

After letting a 25-point lead dwindle to four in the fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers went on a 14-0 run to put away the young and foundering Phoenix Suns, padding their lead for the final playoff spot in the West with a 130-117 win at the Moda Center.

It was the sixth straight win for Portland (38-38), which moved to .500 for the first time since it was 12-12 on Dec. 8. The Blazers lead Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot by 2.5 games with six games remaining. Denver plays at Miami on Sunday.

"It's been a long season, a long journey,'' Coach Terry Stotts said about reaching .500. "But we are not done yet. To battle back and be in the eighth spot is an accomplishment, but again, our work is not done.''

Phoenix (22-55) lost its 11th in a row despite 31 points from Devin Booker. 

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points and seven assists and CJ McCollum had 29 points and seven assists, but it was Evan Turner, whose strong fourth quarter helped steer the Blazers out of trouble. Turner scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth, his strongest outing since returning to the Blazers on March 18 from a broken right hand. Coach Terry Stotts after the game said he liked Turner's defense on Booker even more than his offense.

Phoenix, which has shut down many of its usual starters, including Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler, was within 99-95 with 9:56 left, but Portland called a timeout then went on a 14-0 run that was keyed by a three-point play from Turner and three-pointers from McCollum and Lillard.

It was the first game for the Blazers since learning starting center Jusuf Nurkic will be lost for the remainder of the season with a fractured right leg. Meyers Leonard started in his place and had seven points and four rebounds in 22 minutes.

The Blazers looked like they would put the game away early, jumping to a 50-25 lead as Phoenix didn’t look interested in playing defense or staying focused on much of anything. But the Blazers got complacent and started settling for outside jumpers, which were off, and Phoenix closed the half on a 24-11 run to draw within 63-53 at halftime.

Noah Vonleh had 12 points and 13 rebounds, Maurice Harkless 13 points and Al-Farouq Aminu 12 points and six rebounds as the Blazers continued their season-long winning streak and completing the season series with Phoenix 3-1.

Next up: Blazers at Minnesota, 6 p.m. Monday (CSN).