Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/22/12
No answer For The Suns The Headline: the Suns come out blazing, shooting a near 60 percent against an ailing Portland team. Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns When: 9:00 ET, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 Where: US Airways Center (Phoenix) Officials: Eli Roe, Bill Kennedy, Kane Fitzgerald Attendance: 14,263 Love ‘em 1. Lillard keeps a hot hand Rookie sensation Damian Lillard keeps a hot hand for the Blazers. He led the team in points Wednesday, putting up 24 points on 7-13 shooting. The savvy point guard added three assists and one steal. Lillard has been insanely hot over his last four games. In that span, he’s shooting 56 percent while averaging 22 points and five assists per game. So Portland’s got that going for them. 2. Leonard has strong debut as starter With J.J. Hickson missing this game due to a should sprain, Portland’s (other) rookie Meyers Leonard got his first career start. Despite undisciplined play off the bench—which comes with being a rookie—Leonard looked rather poised and improved tonight. The big man ended his night with 12 points on 6-9 shooting with just three fouls. Leonard was a dominating force on defense, nabbing five rebounds with a pair of blocks and steals. As long as he can have defensive efforts like this every night, I say Portland made the right draft day decision. Hate ‘em 1. Phoenix almost shoots 60 percent After some horrendous games, it looked like Portland’s defense was turning a corner. They came into this game on a three game win streak, while holding opponents well under 50 percent shooting in that span. Then Phoenix turned Portland into Thanksgiving turkey, carving up that defense. The Suns finished their night shooting 59.7 percent from the field. Not to mention they were 7-17 from the arc. You can’t give up numbers like that and hope to win. Despite a strong first start, Leonard can’t save Portland from a decisive defeat. (Photo: Ross Franklin / AP) 2. Coughing up the ball When it came to protecting the ball, Portland was practically giving the thing away. The starters were particularly guilty of this. Lillard had six turnovers on the night, while L.A. had five. When all was said and done, Portland finished this game with 20 turnovers, and the Suns combined for 12 steals. So not only was Portland letting Phoenix make any shot they wanted, they were begging for them to have the ball. 3. LaMarcus going soft Are we ever going to be free from LaMarshmallow? I love LaMarcus Aldridge, and he’s obviously the cornerstone of the franchise. But after two dominating seasons, he seems to be receding to his old self. L.A. finished his night with a mere 12 points on 5-15 shooting. He managed just seven rebounds. Aldridge was bested all night by the devastating duo (insert sarcasm) of Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. As a result, Portland was outscored 24-54 in the paint. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT OUR TRAIL BLAZERS BLOG AT THE NWSB!
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