Lillard, McCollum help Blazers beat Suns 114-107
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, drives the lane as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Damian Lillard scored 25 points, C.J. McCollum had 23 and the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the persistent Phoenix Suns, 114-107 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Lillard hit a 10-foot runner with 29 seconds left to give the Blazers (4-2) a four-point lead in a game where they never led by double digits.
Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Pat Connaughton scored 13 points off the bench for Portland.
Phoenix (2-4) lost for the first time since Jay Triano took over as interim coach. Earl Watson was fired on Oct. 22 (Oct. 23, PHL time), following an 0-3 start.
Portland found a much different Suns team than it did in the season opener on Oct. 18 (Oct. 19, PHL time), a game the Blazers won 124-76. Phoenix turned it around at both ends of the floor and forced Portland to win in much different fashion this time.
Devin Booker hit 11-of-19 shots and scored 33 points. T.J. Warren and Alex Len had 12 points apiece for the Suns.
The Blazers led 98-91 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't pull away. Phoenix pulled within a possession on three occasions, and had a chance to tie with less than a minute to play when Marquese Chriss missed a 20-foot jumper. Lillard pounced, split the Phoenix defense and hit a floating runner to put Portland ahead 110-106.
Portland led 61-57 at halftime after making eight three-pointers and shooting 48 percent. Connaughton hit his first four shots off the bench, including three three-pointers, as the Blazers opened a 36-30 lead early in the second quarter.
Lillard and Nurkic, a combined 3-of-15 during the first half, scored 16 of Portland's first 18 points of the second half. Still, the Blazers couldn't shake Phoenix. Booker scored 10 points to keep the Suns within 92-89 heading into the fourth quarter.
Suns: Rookie guard Mike James graduated from Northeast Portland's Grant High School in 2008. . This is the fourth time Phoenix has played Portland in October, including twice during preseason. . Booker has reached double-figure scoring in his past six games against Portland. During this stretch, Booker is averaging 23.7 points per game.
Blazers: Forward Meyers Leonard is out four to six weeks (right lateral ankle sprain). The injury occurred during a practice earlier in the week. . Lillard's shooting is off to a slow start this season. He is shooting 37 percent (40-of-108) for the season, and 30 percent (17-of-56) during the past three games. . Lillard reached the 9,000-point milestone during the third quarter. With 402 career games, Lillard is the fastest Blazer to score 9,000 points.
Suns: Visit Brooklyn on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).
Blazers: Host Toronto on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time).