Turnovers sting Blazers again in preseason loss to Suns

Aldridge, Williams make preseason debuts against Phoenix

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

Published:

 

PORTLAND -- Turnovers were a struggle again for the Trail Blazers.

Portland accumulated 17 through three quarters which led to 24 points for the Phoenix Suns, who held off a late comeback to win 104-98 in a preseason game Wednesday at the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 19 points in 25 minutes of play. LaMarcus Aldridge made his preseason debut, scoring 10 points.

Mo Williams also made his preseason debut for the Blazers, scoring nine points and dishing six assists. Williams threw a couple of nice lobs for alley-oops, one to Lillard and another to Meyers Leonard.

The biggest bright spots -- aside from Lillard and the debuts of Aldridge and Williams -- was the play of Will Barton and Allen Crabbe off the bench.

Crabbe scored 10 points in the first half, finishing with 14 points while Barton did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his 13 points on only six shots as the Blazers comeback attempt came up short.

Crabbe and Barton's scoring contribution was certainly needed after Thomas Robinson was ejected after two second-quarter technical fouls.

Barton said that his mission in the offseason was to be "less wild" and more efficient. Through two games in the preseason, he's done just that, going 8-for-11 from the field and hitting two of three 3-point attempts.

"I definitely feel like I'm more in control," Barton said. "I'm more patient now, I'm more comfortable in my decision making, and the players on the team. I feel like I'm in a real groove."

Robinson picked up his first technical early in the second quarter after he got in a shoving match with Alex Len. He picked up his second with 3:04 left in the period when he threw an elbow while battling for position for a rebound with Phoenix's Marcin Gortat.

The Blazers did themselves no favors by turning the ball over, and the Suns made them pay.

Phoenix's Goran Dragic led all scorers with 19 points, going 7-of-9 from the field.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts said the Suns' style of play, frequently featuring a big man who can spread the court with 3-point shooting, was a good test for the Blazers.

The Blazers turnovers have been a problem, andthe several players and Stotts acknowledged that everybody getting used to the system may be a problem.

Stotts isn't very worried about the offense.

"I'm not too concerned about our offense, but I think our offense is behind our defense right now," he said.

SUNS 104, BLAZERS 98

PHOENIX (104) -- Marc.Morris 5-10 2-6 15, Mark.Morris 4-9 0-0 9, Gortat 3-6 2-3 8, Bledsoe 3-11 0-0 6, Brown 2-6 5-5 9, Dragic 7-9 3-4 19, Green 2-6 2-3 6, Plumlee 4-9 1-1 9, Len 0-2 0-0 0, Goodwin 2-4 2-4 6, Tucker 1-4 1-2 3, Frye 5-6 1-2 14, Marshall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-82 19-30 104.

PORTLAND (98) -- Claver 0-4 3-6 3, Aldridge 4-9 2-2 10, Lopez 1-2 0-2 2, Lillard 7-15 3-6 19, Matthews 0-3 4-4 4, Williams 3-10 2-3 9, Robinson 2-4 3-4 7, Crabbe 6-11 0-0 14, Leonard 3-3 2-2 8, Barton 5-6 1-1 13, Freeland 4-8 1-1 9, Bost 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-75 21-31 98.

Phoenix 28 28 27 21—104

Portland 20 31 16 31— 98

3-Point Goals—Phoenix 9-17 (Frye 3-4, Marc.Morris 3-4, Dragic 2-4, Mark.Morris 1-1, Bledsoe 0-4), Portland 7-21 (Barton 2-2, Crabbe 2-4, Lillard 2-7, Williams 1-3, Matthews 0-1, Claver 0-4). Fouled Out—Green, Leonard. Rebounds—Phoenix 53 (Marc.Morris 7), Portland 52 (Robinson, Claver, Aldridge 6). Assists—Phoenix 22 (Bledsoe 9), Portland 21 (Williams 7). Total Fouls—Phoenix 29, Portland 26. Technicals—Len, Mark.Morris, Aldridge, Leonard, Robinson 2. A—12,653 (19,980).