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Suns’ 3rd quarter nightmare leads to loss against Trail Blazers

Dec 19, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Duop Reath (26) grabs a rebound against Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

After heading into halftime leading by a dozen, a disastrous 3rd quarter resulted in the Phoenix Suns falling to the Portland Trail Blazers with a final score of 109-104.

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In the 3rd quarter, the Suns were outscored 34-20 due to a 6-18 shooting display. Devin Booker, in particular, made just one shot out of six attempts. A majority of his misses came from the mid-range, which is typically his sweet spot.

While the Suns attempted to mount a comeback in the final couple of minutes, the 12-point deficit that they faced proved to be too large to overcome.

Standing alone as the one bright spot in the Suns loss was Kevin Durant, who, with 40 points, kept the game close.

If it were not for Durant’s +8 while on the court, it could have very easily been a blowout loss.

Playing as a burden was once Phoenix’s bench. Eric Gordon and Jordan Goodwin combined for 2-14 shooting. In total, the Suns bench combined for just 14 points, compared to 43 points contributed by the Trail Blazers bench.

Deandre Ayton, against his former team, recorded his 10th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and bringing in 15 rebounds.

The Suns also struggled heavily from beyond the arc, similar to what fans witnessed against the Wizards on Sunday. Phoenix made just five threes in 23 attempts, which broke a new season low.

In stark contrast, the Trail Blazers shot 50% from beyond the arc, which, considering they entered tonight as the 27th-ranked team in three-point shooting, should raise further concerns about the Suns recent defensive struggles.

It was such a bad night for the Suns that even free throws became an issue. The Suns missed six free throws; these proved to be extremely costly down the stretch.

Next up for Phoenix is a meeting with the Sacramento Kings on Friday. The last time these two teams met, the Kings walked away with a 114–106 win.

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