The Portland Trail Blazers staged a dramatic comeback on Tuesday night, overcoming a 22-point deficit to secure a 109-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns. This win put an end to their seven-game losing streak, marking a significant turnaround in their performance.
DeAndre Ayton was a pivotal figure in this resurgence, delivering a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Anfernee Simons also played a crucial role, contributing 23 points and seven rebounds. The Suns, despite a valiant effort, witnessed their fifth loss in seven games.
Kevin Durant led the scoring for Phoenix with an impressive 40 points, while Devin Booker added 26 points and seven assists. However, their efforts were not enough to stave off the Blazers' spirited comeback.
Key Plays and Strategies
Simons' layup with 10.7 seconds remaining was a crucial moment in thwarting a late rally by Phoenix, especially after Portland had extended their lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Reflecting on his game-deciding basket, Simons said, “I was trying to decide whether to go up with two hands or shoot a floater and at the last minute I switched it to a floater”.Ayton, who played a game-high 40 minutes and attempted a season-high 18 field goals against his former team, downplayed any personal motivations.
“I’ve just been focused on being a Trail Blazer and establishing who we are in this league," he stated.Blazers coach Chauncey Billups acknowledged Ayton's focus and motivation against his former team, mentioning that he ran plays early in the game to get Ayton into an aggressive mindset.
Jerami Grant added 22 points for Portland, while Malcolm Brogdon, coming off the bench, contributed 14 points and four assists. Brogdon's involvement increased in the second half, replacing Shaedon Sharpe, who left the game due to a groin injury.
Another key to Portland's victory was their proficiency from the 3-point line, hitting 14 of 28 attempts, compared to just five for Phoenix. Additionally, Portland improved ball handling in the second half, reducing their turnovers significantly, which played a critical role in their comeback.