PHOENIX (AP) Damian Lillard scored 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers opened the season by handing the Phoenix Suns the most one-sided loss in the franchise’s 49-year history, 124-76 on Wednesday night.
Pat Connaughton added a career-high 24 points, making 4 of 6 3-pointers. The Trail Blazers outshot, outrebounded and outhustled the Suns from the opening tip.
The 48-point rout exceeded Phoenix’s previous record, a 44-point loss to Seattle (151-107) on April 2, 1988.
The Blazers dominated even though they were without one of their best players, guard C.J. McCollum, who was suspended one game for leaving the bench area during a tussle involving Phoenix’s Alex Len and Caleb Swanigan in a preseason game a week ago.
Portland led 60-35 at the half and outscored the Suns 64-41 in the second. The Blazers led by as many as 58, for a time flirting with the most one-sided game in NBA history, a 68-point blowout of the Miami Heat by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17, 1991.
The Suns shot 31.5 percent to Portland’s 49 percent, made 7 of 27 3-pointers to the Blazers’ 14 of 24 and were outrebounded 57-33.
Phoenix had the league’s second-worst record last season at 24-58 and looked at least that bad throughout the opener.
Eric Bledsoe scored 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Devin Booker added 12 on 6-of-17 shooting. Bledsoe was 1 for 6 on 3s, Booker 0 for 3.
Portland’s bench outscored Phoenix’s 61-26.
After Booker’s 13-footer tied it at 17, Lillard sank a layup and the Blazers bolted away from there.
Bledsoe’s three-point play cut the lead to 45-35 with 4:38 left in the third quarter, but Portland scored the final 15 points of the half and was up 60-35 at the break.
The Suns shot 29 percent in the first half (14 for 49) to Portland’s 44 percent (22 for 50). Phoenix was 1 for 11 from 3-point range in the first two quarters to the Blazers’ 7 of 13. Most tellingly, the Portland bench outscored its Phoenix counterparts 24-0.
The Blazers led a numbing 98-55 entering the final quarter.
Trail Blazers: The one-game suspension, for taking a few steps off the bench in a preseason game, cost McCollum $165,000. …. Connaughton, a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, had a previous career high of 15 points. … Portland had six players in double figures. … Blazers have won four consecutive season openers. … Trail Blazers don’t play their home opener until next Tuesday against New Orleans.
Suns: Len sat out the game with a sprained left ankle. He was injured in Saturday’s practice. … Rookie Josh Jackson started and made a 3-pointer with his first shot, but was 2 for 8 the rest of the way with only two rebounds. … Marquese Chriss made 1 of 5 shots and had one rebound and five fouls in 12:05 minutes.
Trail Blazers: At Indiana on Friday night.
Suns: Host Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
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