Game of Runs Ends With Summer League Suns on Top
Two up, two down for the 2021 Trail Blazers summer squad. After opening in Las Vegas like a team with a chance to compete for the Summer League crown, Portland lost its second straight contest, this time a 79-70 defeat to the Phoenix Suns (2-2) on Saturday night.
The Suns scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed during the first half. The Trail Blazers did, however, tie the game at multiple points in the first 20 minutes, and an Emmanuel Mudiay last-second three-pointer brought Portland’s deficit to just three, 39-36, at the break.
Portland raced out of the tunnel to grab its first lead of the game as part of a 12-0 burst to begin the second half. But Phoenix quickly answered with a 15-0 run of its own to build a lead it would hold the rest of the night.
“Defense was working for us early on in the second half, but we just kinda got too complacent, we got too comfortable, and I think that’s when they kinda made their run,” said Mudiay, a five-year NBA veteran. “They jumped on us, and they made a comeback, and we kinda couldn’t recover from there.”
Portland’s even scoring attack was led by 11-year NBA veteran Michael Beasley, who finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with five rebounds. Like Mudiay, Beasley attributed Portland’s best spurt to the defensive end of the floor.
“We started to move the ball really well in the third quarter. I think our run was more a testament to our defense,” said Beasley. “We started getting stops and started running out. The first half, they just hit good shots. They’ve got a lot of guys that can spread the floor.”
Mudiay was the team’s second-leading scorer and tallied Portland’s first double-double of the summer with 13 points and 11 assists.
“I like being aggressive, getting downhill and finding teammates, finding others,” he said about his high assist total. “The guys were making shots, and they opened it up for me a little bit as well. Just getting people involved, that’s something I love to do, and they were finishing.”
Phoenix forward Jalen Smith, the 10th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, led all players with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Alexander and Michael Frazier added 14 points apiece for the Suns.
The Trail Blazers will play one final game in Las Vegas before heading home. Date, time and opponent will be announced shortly.