The Blazers received good news earlier in the day that center Jusuf Nurkic would return on March 15. However, it was Aron Baynes who made his name bigger than the Nurk news Friday night.
Baynes scored 19 in the first half, and finished with a career-high 37 for the Suns. He was efficient too, shooting 12-of-23 overall and 9-of-13 from three, as the Suns won 127-117.
Portland made a few nice runs, including a 20-0 run in the second quarter. The Blazers were able to claw to within 10 of Phoenix with 4:42 to go.
The worst part of Friday’s loss is Memphis got hammered by Dallas, 121-96. Portland could have gained a game on the Grizzlies for that coveted No. 8 spot in the West.
No rest for the weary however, as the Blazers must jump right back in. The team returns to Portland for a six-game homestand which begins Saturday night against Sacramento, who are tied with the Blazers as the No. 9 seed.
CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside each scored at least 23 points. Whiteside also finished with 20 rebounds, which accounted for more than half of the team’s total rebounds (39).
Trevor Ariza put in 17, but Carmelo Anthony only scored seven. The Blazer bench outscored the Suns bench, but it wasn’t enough to counteract Baynes.
However, all five Suns starters (including Baynes) scored at least 13 points and three scored 23 or more and scored 115 of the team’s 127.