Blazers Blow Out Suns Behind Big Night From Layman

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- Trail Blazers forward Jake Layman hasn’t put up many points in his first two season out of Maryland, scoring just 112 points in 70 career games. But on the rare opportunities that he does score, he tends to do so in bunches.

That was the case Wednesday night, with the 6-9 swingman putting up 18 points in the first 12 minutes of play before finishing with 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting in Portland’s 116-83 victory versus the Phoenix Suns in front of a crowd of 15,051 at the Moda Center.

"I'm really pleased in a lot of way," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "I thought offensively in the first quarter, we really moved the ball, shared the ball. Defensively, we were solid most of the night. A lot of guys made a lot of good plays. It was a good night, especially with all the guys that were out, the guys had an opportunity. It was good to see Jake play with a lot of confidence."

With the win, the Trail Blazers are now 2-2 in exhibition play, with both of of those victories coming versus the Suns.

Layman’s big night wasn’t suppose to start as soon as it did Wednesday, as Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said pregame that Maurice Harkless would play and start for the first time versus the Suns. But for whatever reason, Harkless sat out, leaving a starting spot and plenty of minutes for Layman to go off.

And go off he did. Layman scored his first points off a dunk at the 9:49 mark of the first quarter and never looked back, going 7-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from three over the next for nine minutes for 18 first-quarter points, which matched Phoenix’s point total for the first 12 minutes of play. And with with three first-quarter dimes, Layman scored or assisted on nine of Portland’s first 14 field goals.

"I think it's just playing within the offense," said Layman. "Coach draws up great plauers for us to get guys open. Tonight, I think we were setting some great screens and I was getting open."

Behind Layman’s 18 first-quarter points, the Trail Blazers took a 39-18 lead into the second quarter which ballooned to 28 points in the second quarter. And despite the Trail Blazers playing without Damian Lillard (rest), CJ McCollum (rest), Evan Turner (shoulder), Harkless and Gary Trent (quad), the Suns were never able to mount anything close to the kind of rally they’d need to overcome such a large deficit.

Layman wasn’t the only member of Portland’s regular-season bench unit to get significant playing time with much of the rotation sitting out Wednesday’s contest.

Wade Baldwin IV went 4-of-7 from the field for 15 points to go with three rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes. Nik Stauskas got his first start of preseason, going 4-of-12 from the field for 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes.

Caleb Swanigan went 4-of-10 from the field for 10 points to go with four rebounds and an assist. Meyers Leonard and Gary Payton II both finished with eight points. Rookie Anfernee Simons played 29 minutes and finished with six points, one rebound, one assist and a steal in his most extended action of the preseason.

"It felt good going out there basically. From the last preseason game, I think I built a ton from the past two preseason games. So I've just got to keep building on it. Having Dame help me throughout the game helped me out a lot, too."

Josh Jackson led the Suns with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Phoenix as a team shot just 39 percent from the field, 26 percent from three and 61 percent from the free throw line.

Next up, the Trail Blazers host the Sacramento Kings Friday night in their final preseason game of the year. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and Rip City Radio 620 AM.


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