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    Lillard-McCollum tandem, Layman power Blazers past depleted Suns

    Jan 25, 2019
    Elie Okobo makes a nifty behind-the-back pass after chasing the loose ball over Jake Layman.
    PHOTO: ap

    PHOENIX — Damian Lillard scored 24 points, CJ McCollum and Jake Layman added 20 apiece and the Portland Trail Blazers pulled away in the second half to hand the short-handed Phoenix Suns their sixth straight loss, 120-106 on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time).

    The Trail Blazers beat Phoenix for the ninth straight time. Portland has won four of five and eight of 11 overall.

    Devin Booker scored 27 points for the Suns but only nine after the first quarter. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 on 6-of-18 shooting. Dragan Bender, forced into the starting center role due to injuries, had 17.

    The Suns were without rookie center Deandre Ayton (sprained left ankle) and backup Richaun Holmes (right foot sprain) for the third straight game. T.J. Warren also sat out with a sore right ankle, and Suns starting point guard De'Anthony Melton left in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle.

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    Seth Curry scored 17 and Jusuf Nurkic 16 for Portland.

    What was left of the Suns stayed with the Blazers through the first half and much of the second.

    Booker shot 6 of 9, including 2 of 4 on 3-pointers, in his 18-point first quarter and the Suns led 31-30 after one. With McCollum on the bench with three fouls, Phoenix stretched the lead to 47-41 on Josh Jackson's coast-to-coast drive with 5:52 left in the half.

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    Portland, though, responded with a 12-1 run to go up 54-48 on Lillard's two free throws with 1:17 remaining. Booker sank four free throws, his only points of the second quarter, and the Trail Blazers led 56-52 at the break.

    Elie Okobo made a pair of 3s in a 14-1 spurt that cut the Blazers' lead to 73-72 with 4:21 left in the third quarter, but Portland finished the period on a 15-4 run.

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    Layman scored twice and Lillard sank three free throws — one on a technical against Jackson — as the Blazers scored the last seven points of the quarter to take an 88-76 lead entering the fourth.

    The Blazers opened the final quarter with a 12-4 surge and Phoenix never challenged again.


    Trail Blazers: Lillard has 1,311 points this season, the most by any Portland player through 50 games. Kiki Vandeweghe scored 1,294 points in the first 50 games of the 1986-87 season. .... Lillard played despite a bruised right hand. ... Portland last lost to Phoenix on Nov. 2, 2016. ... Nurkic was 1-of-8 shooting in the first half.

    Suns: Holmes said he thought he'd be able to play Wednesday night at Denver. ... The Phoenix City Council voted Tuesday in favor of a $235 million renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena. ... The Blazers outscored the Suns 34-9 in the first quarter of their first meeting this season. ... Phoenix has lost 13 of its last 16 against Portland. ... Oubre has scored in double figures a career-best nine straight games.

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    Trail Blazers: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

    Suns: At the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

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    Elie Okobo makes a nifty behind-the-back pass after chasing the loose ball over Jake Layman.
    PHOTO: ap
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