Big Second Half Sends Suns Past Blazers
After allowing a furious late-game comeback to the Clippers, the Suns proved they know how to learn from their mistakes by doing the same thing to their next opponent.
The Suns used a 42-14 second-half run to turn the tables on the Blazers, a stretch that included revitalized defense and an offensive showcase by Gerald Green.
The combination propelled Phoenix past Portland for a pivotal 109-93 win on the road, which kept them on pace with fellow playoff hopefuls Memphis and Dallas, both of whom also won on Friday night.
Green was the difference-maker, making everything from step-in three-pointers to off-the-backboard alley-oops to himself.
Eric Bledsoe helped seal the game at the end, finishing with a career-high 30 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
Portland led by as many as 10 before the Suns outscored the Blazers 58-39 in the second half. Bledsoe and Green nearly outscored Portland by themselves after halftime, combining for 36 points.
Phoenix remains in ninth place, tied with Memphis (in eighth) and a half-game back of Dallas (seventh) with six contests remaining.
The top eight teams from each conference qualify for the NBA playoffs
After a pair of Mo Williams free throws cut Phoenix's lead to four early in the fourth quarter, the Suns responded by holding the Blazers scoreless for five minutes and one second.
Phoenix's lead ballooned to 14 as a result, while Portland went 0-for-5 from the field and committed two turnovers in that span.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Bledsoe's overall stat line was a fantasy basketball player's dream, but it was Gerald Green who wrestled the momentum back in the Suns' favor on the offensive end. The 6-8 swingman finished with 32 points, five rebounds, two assists and a block.
Green's efficiency was due to the well-rounded nature of his shot selection. Only seven of his 20 shot attempts came from beyond the arc, and he made four of those. He was 8-of-13 from inside the three-point line.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
13: The number of offensive rebounds Phoenix snagged in the second half. The Suns average 11.6 offensive boards per game on the season.