Booker Drops 30, Suns Fall to Blazers in Final Second

by Cody Cunningham

After a rough start the night prior, the Suns came out energized and focused from the beginning as the team faced-off against the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

“I thought we were better defensively,” Head Coach Jay Triano said. “We were a lot more aggressive, we were into guys, we were more physical than we were. I asked them to play the way we did in the second half last night and I thought we did that.”

Devin Booker was hot from the start knocking down his first three shots of the game. The Suns and Trail Blazers battled back-and-forth as neither team could pull much of an advantage in the first half. 

The Suns went into the third quarter down by five, but the team fought together and by the end of the quarter, led by ten.

The Suns would lead by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, but the Trail Blazers weren’t going to give up that easy. Damian Lillard led the way for Portland and with just over two and a half minutes remaining, the game would be tied.

Remember when Booker won the three-point contest last Saturday? Well, he reminded the Trail Blazers exactly one week later. He pulled up from deep and knocked it down giving the Suns a 100-97 lead.

Lillard wasn’t done yet either responding with a three of his own as the two stars continued to trade baskets. Elfrid Payton’s two free throws would also be matched by a Jusuf Nurkic two.

So of course, the ever-clutch Booker would drive to make a layup and the also-clutch Lillard would follow it up with a midrange jumper. Still tied. 

The game wouldn’t be settled until a Suns’ inbounding turnover would lead to a Lillard score with 0.9 seconds to go as the Trail Blazers won 106-104. 

“We came out, we played early on. That was the biggest thing for us, but still, no moral victories,” Booker said. “We have to win. You learn winning by winning. There’s no way around that. We played well today, let’s move on from that. We have to finish games out like that.”

Booker finished with his 17th 30-point game of the season and 37th of his career. He is now tied with Shawn Marion for the ninth most in Suns history. Payton (13 points, 11 assists) and Alex Len (11 points, 13 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles. 

The Suns hit the road as they travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Monday. Catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.