NBA regular season

No Kevin Durant, no problem as Suns blast Blazers


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No Kevin Durant, no problem as Suns blast Blazers

RAMPING UP. Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (3) drives on Portland Trail Blazers forward Kris Murray (8) in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Bradley Beal and Jusuf Nurkic step up in Kevin Durant's absence as the Phoenix Suns deliver a 21-point pounding to the Portland Trail Blazers

Bradley Beal netted 21 points to lead seven scorers in double figures as the Phoenix Suns recorded their fourth consecutive victory with a 109-88 rout of the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night (Tuesday, January 2, Manila time).

Beal went 8-for-16 from the floor while recording at least 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time since being traded to Phoenix this past offseason. He scored a season-high 25 points in Sunday’s 112-107 win over the Orlando Magic.

Fellow Suns starters Jusuf Nurkic (18 points), Chimezie Metu (14), Grayson Allen (12) and Devin Booker (10) also scored in double figures, contributing to a balanced attack with star forward Kevin Durant missing from the lineup due to right hamstring soreness.

Phoenix also got 12 points from Eric Gordon and 11 from Bol Bol. Bol added a team-high nine rebounds. Booker grabbed eight boards and dished out a game-high-tying six assists.

The Suns’ defense limited Portland to 33-of-80 shooting from the floor (41.2 percent), including an 8-for-30 effort from 3-point range (26.7 percent). The 88 points allowed was a season low for Phoenix.

Scoot Henderson led Portland with 17 points and matched Booker’s game high with six assists. Jerami Grant added 15 points.

Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari Walker were the only other Trail Blazers to score in double figures with 10 points apiece. Walker grabbed nine rebounds to flirt with a double-double.

Phoenix took control in the third quarter, putting together a 22-6 run in a span of 6:59. Gordon capped the rally with a 3-pointer, giving the Suns a commanding 79-57 advantage.

After taking an 86-61 lead into the fourth, Phoenix went up by as much as 26 as it cruised to the finish.

The Suns made 38 of 80 shots from the field (47.5 percent), including 11 of 29 from deep (37.9 percent).

It was anybody’s game at the break, as Phoenix was up 55-47. Henderson had Portland within 45-41 with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter after a floater, but the Suns then scored 10 of the final 16 points of the frame. –

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