Blaz­ers hand Suns sev­enth straight loss

Lillard scores 25 points with eight as­sists and five re­bounds for Blaz­ers in their 108-86 vic­tory

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Damian Lillard scored 25 points and dished out eight as­sists de­spite sit­ting out the en­tire fourth quar­ter as the Port­land Trail Blaz­ers rolled past the vis­it­ing Phoenix Suns 108-86 on Thurs­day night.

Jake Lay­man came off the bench to score a ca­reer-high 24 points on 10-for-13 shoot­ing and grab seven re­bounds for the Trail Blaz­ers, who snapped a three­game los­ing streak. Troy Daniels scored 15 points for Phoenix, which has lost seven in a row. Josh Jack­son had 14 points, and Dean­dre Ay­ton added 11 points and eight boards for the Suns.

The Blaz­ers, who had lost eight of their pre­vi­ous 11 games, led the en­tire way af­ter a 2-0 deficit, forg­ing a 34-9 ad­van­tage af­ter one quar­ter. They built a 31-point lead in the fourth quar­ter and fin­ished with a 56-41 ad­van­tage in the re­bound bat­tle.

Lillard was 8 of 14 from the field. Both he and Lay­man knocked down 3 of 5 at­tempts from be­yond the arc. The Suns shot 38.5 per­cent from the field and made only 5 of 27 shots from 3-point range.

Port­land was play­ing with­out guard CJ McCol­lum, who sat out the game with an an­kle in­jury. Phoenix was with­out its top two scor­ers who are sad­dled with in­juries - guard Devin Booker (ham­string) and for­ward T.J. War­ren (an­kle). The Blaz­ers have won eight games in a row against the Suns dat­ing to Novem­ber 2016.

Lillard scored 21 points and Lay­man added 17 as Port­land took a 62-41 ad­van­tage into in­ter­mis­sion.

The Blaz­ers shot 54.5 per­cent from the field while the Suns fired at a 38.1 per­cent clip, mak­ing only 2 of 9 at­tempts from the 3-point arc.

Port­land in­creased its lead to 87-59 af­ter three quar­ters. The Blaz­ers pumped the dif­fer­ence to 99-68 mid­way through the fi­nal pe­riod. Phoenix got no closer than 22 points the rest of the way.

With Lillard scor­ing 15 points on 6-for-6 shoot­ing - in­clud­ing three 3-point­ers - the Blaz­ers burst to a 31-5 lead as the Suns be­gan the game shoot­ing 2 of 17 from the field.

Lay­man con­trib­uted 15 points on 6-for-6 shoot­ing - in­clud­ing three 3-point­ers - in the quar­ter. Port­land ex­tended the mar­gin to 53-27 mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter.

The Blaz­ers set­tled for a 21-point lead at the break.

JAZZ CRUSH REEL­ING ROCK­ETS

Der­rick Fa­vors recorded a dou­ble-dou­ble off the bench, and Joe In­gles helped shoul­der the early load on of­fence as the Utah Jazz con­tin­ued their strong play with a 118-91 de­mo­li­tion of the Hous­ton Rock­ets on Thurs­day in Salt Lake City.

Utah (13-13) has won 5 of 7 games to reach .500 for the first time since Novem­ber 17.

Favours fin­ished with 24 points and 10 re­bounds in just 25 min­utes while In­gles to­talled 18 points on 6-of-9 shoot­ing.

The Jazz lost start­ing cen­tre Rudy Gobert to an ejec­tion at the 9:13 mark of the first quar­ter and re­ceived only six points from Dono­van Mitchell yet coasted to vic­tory against the list­less Rock­ets, lead­ing by as many as 37 points.

James Har­den paced the Rock­ets with 15 points but shot 5 of 16 from the floor and recorded seven turnovers.

Chris Paul had five turnovers and five as­sists to go along with his 12 points. Clint Capela added 12 points and 10 re­bounds for the Rock­ets, who are 1-5 over their past six road games.

Hous­ton (11-13) has dropped six of its past eight games over­all. Dante Exum (15 points), Ricky Ru­bio (13) and Jae Crow­der (12) all scored in dou­ble fig­ures for Utah.

The Jazz opened the sec­ond half with 15-2 blitz that ex­tended its eight-point half­time lead to 68-47 at the 7:20 mark of the frame.

The Rock­ets, who to­talled nine points in the fourth quar­ter while blow­ing a dou­ble-digit half­time lead at Min­nesota on Mon­day, tal­lied 11 points in the third quar­ter against the Jazz. Gobert was whis­tled for a foul on the open­ing tip and an of­fen­sive foul mo­ments later.

He re­acted to the sec­ond in­frac­tion with a violent swing at items stacked on the scorer’s ta­ble and was ejected. Utah re­sponded by closing the first quar­ter with an 11-2 run as the Rock­ets recorded as many turnovers (six) in the pe­riod as bas­kets. The Jazz ex­tended to a 47-32 lead in the sec­ond be­fore Har­den led a come­back, scor­ing eight points dur­ing a 13-6 run that closed the half.

How­ever, In­gles and Crow­der opened the third with 3-point­ers sand­wiched around Hous­ton turnovers be­fore Crow­der com­pleted a three-point play.

Paul scored 10 points in the first half to reach 17,000 for his ca­reer.

He stands 142 as­sists shy of join­ing Ja­son Kidd, Magic Johnson, Os­car Robert­son, and John Stock­ton as the only play­ers in league his­tory to pro­duce 17,000 points, 9,000 as­sists, and 4,000 re­bounds.

PIC­TURE: USA TO­DAY Sports

Phoenix Suns for­ward Richaun Holmes (left) de­fends the bas­ket against Port­land Trail Blaz­ers guard Damian Lillard dur­ing the sec­ond half at Moda Cen­ter.

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