No Damian Lillard. Anfernee Simons was out with a hurt foot. Vegas had the Blazers losing by double digits. Other than a brief run by the Suns early, and a push late, the Blazers were not only in it, they were in control. They didn’t let a few streaks by Devin Booker shake them, on the way to a 108-106 win Friday night in Phoenix.
A few words to describe the game are grit, grind, and fight. They describe almost every minute of it. The Blazers missing four rotation players, including their starting backcourt, met on a united front in Footprint Center, and put their foot down.
After an early 8 point run by the Suns, the Blazers locked down on defense and trusted in each other, playing by committee on offense. They fought with an unrelenting tenacity and built a 15 point lead, that was whittled down to 10 at half.
Portland came out strong to start the second half before the Suns went on a run, getting within 4. The Blazers though were not rattled. Justice Winslow finished the quarter with a put back to give the Blazers a 6 point lead going into the final quarter.
The Blazers and Suns exchanged blows back and forth and the lead flipped back and forth. The Suns fought to tie it before Jusuf Nurkic re-entered and had 9 important points down the stretch, including a three over DeAndre Ayton.
Devin Booker hit a three giving the Suns a lead, but Keon Johnson hit back and tied it, before the Blazers got the ball back following a solid defensive set, with just a second left on the clock. Out of a timeout, Jerami Grant caught an inbound pass from Justice Winslow and turned, hitting a fading jumper for the win as time expired.
Jerami Grant led the Blazers with 30 points and 5 assists. Jusuf Nurkic put up 14 points (including 2-2 shooting from three) and 8 rebounds. Seven of the nine Blazers who played were in double digits.
The Blazers won the 2022-23 season series against the Suns with the win.
Portland will play the Suns again tomorrow, November 5th, at 7:00 PM.