The Phoenix Suns have fallen in a heartbreaking, overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, with the two teams going back-and-forth over the last 15 minutes.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Suns who had earlier led by double-digits during the second quarter. Even on the final play of the game, Deandre Ayton’s purposely missed second free-throw landed in the hands of Jock Landale.
Jock Landale’s missed putback prevented a second overtime as the Phoenix Suns fell short in a 113-111 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center.
The Suns began the game efficiently, with Deandre Ayton showcasing his skills against a helpless Jusuf Nurkic. That included a straight away three, much to the surprise of those in the building and others watching on at home.
Phoenix opened up a 19-9 lead halfway through the first, but in what will likely become a theme given their bench deficiencies, they struggled to close out the opening period. Conversely, Damian Lillard began to heat up as his 14 points kept the Trail Blazers within three.
Phoenix re-established their lead during the second, with Portland’s offense stuck in mud without the shot-creation of Lillard. He returned and continued his masterclass though, amassing a mammoth 28 first-half points on 8-for-12 shooting and 4-for-7 from three. The Trail Blazers’ superstar single handedly kept his team close as the remaining personnel combined for 19 points. Phoenix too had their struggles outside Ayton and Devin Booker’s 15 points apiece. That duo shot 11-for-18 but otherwise, the Suns were 9-for-25 from the floor.
Lillard continued his brilliance early in the third but Phoenix kept themselves at arms reach, holding a four-point lead heading into the fourth. That was short-lived though as a pair of Justice Winslow free-throws, followed by a Nassir Little jumpshot, tied the game at 79.
Neither team were able to gain ascendancy for the remainder of the game, even if Portland managed to procure a five-point lead with five minutes to play. That was snuffed out quickly by a Damion Lee three and an Ayton dunk, before a Booker jumpshot and driving layup gave the Suns a 99-97 lead with 90 seconds to play.
An Anfernee Simons three put the Trail Blazers back in front, Chris Paul responded with a layup on the other end, before Nurkic regained the lead with a pair of free-throws. He then provided Mikal Bridges with the same opportunity at the line, but the Suns wing converted on only one to leave the game tied.
After a steal on the defensive end, Booker’s sidestep three-point attempt fell short, as did Lillard’s three-point attempt on the buzzer; overtime! When Paul nailed a patented jumper with 1:40 to play, the Suns were in the box seat with a five-point lead.
But the Suns offense then went awry for four straight possessions, while the Trail Blazers capitalized on their chances that included two trips to the line. The last and ultimately game-winning shot was a tough driving hook from Simons over Bridges.
Ayton was fouled with 1.2 seconds to play before missing the first. He purposely missed the second but Landale was unable to convert on what should be acknowledged as a fairly straight forward layup.
A disappointing result for the Suns who left to little up to Booker and Ayton. They combined for 59 points while Lillard went for 41 on Portland’s side. The team statistics reflected similarly to the Mavericks game, with each team shooting similar percentages, though Phoenix had 12 more field-goal attempts and the Trail Blazers 15 more free-throws.
Phoenix now head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday night.