Suns 104, Trail Blazers 91

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Forward Miles Plumlee surpassed his scoring total from all of last year with 18 points, and he added 15 rebounds and three blocks as the Phoenix Suns posted a 104-91 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Phoenix's backcourt combination of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic combined for 48 points and 15 assists as the Suns took a 14-point lead in the first quarter and carried it all the way home.
P.J. Tucker added 18 points as the Suns, who had only three veterans of last season see action Wednesday. Plumlee, who scored 13 points in the 2012-13 season with the Indiana Pacers, became the first player to record a double-double in his Suns debut since Shawn Marion had 14 points and 14 rebounds as a rookie in 1999.
Damian Lilliard scored 32 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 28, but no other Blazer reached double figures. Forty-one percent shooting did in the Blazers.
Portland ended last season with 13 consecutive losses, and it picked up where it left off, losing to the Suns for the sixth time in the past eight meetings.
The Blazers trailed by as many as 17 but cut Phoenix's lead to 96-91 on Lilliard's sixth 3-pointer of the night and a Robin Lopez free throw with 3:15 left.
Dragic closed out the game with two jumpers, and Tucker's fast-break layup restored the Phoenix lead to 11 at 102-91 with 1:19 left.
Plumlee, who impressed the Suns so much in training camp that they traded starting center Marcin Gortat to the Washington Capitals five days ago, handled the inside, while Bledsoe and Dragic led the Suns to 31 fast-break points. Phoenix survived on a night when its long-distance shooting struggled (4-for-19 from 3-point range).
The Suns shot 60 percent in the first quarter and didn't commit a turnover, leading by as many as 14 as the combination of Plumlee inside and Dragic outside left the Blazers flat-footed. Dragic capped a 10-1 Phoenix run with a fastbreak layup a free throw to put Phoenix up 18-10 just six minutes in.
Plumlee had a double-double in the first half (16 points, rebounds 10) as the Suns opened their lead to 34-18 on a Gerald Green dunk with 9:53 left in the half. Bledsoe added eight points in the second quarter.
However, the Suns also missed all eight of their 3-point attempts in the first half, and Lilliard went off from deep to bring the Blazers back. The reigning Rookie of the Year had three 3-pointers in the final 1:04 of the half. He capped a 15-3 Portland run to close the half on a 25-footer with 1.8 seconds left, pulling the Blazers within 50-46 at the break.
Aldridge had 14 points in the first half but needed 13 shots to get it done.
Phoenix's starters regained control quickly in the second half. The Suns opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run, stretching their lead to 64-51 on a Bledsoe layup off a Channing Frye steal.
NOTES: Is Blazers' slate is wiped clean for the new season? "On paper, yes," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "But when we lost our first two preseason games, my wife (Jan) reminded me 'That's 15 in a row.' So it depends who you ask, I guess." ... Frye, back after missing all of the 2012-13 season with an enlarged heart, got the start in place of Markieff Morris. Morris was suspended for the first game for his elbow to the face of Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka in an Oct. 22 preseason game. ... Stotts on former Lopez, the only new addition to Portland's starting lineup: "He's been terrific. He's really set the tone defensively. He competes in practice, he has a serious professional approach to his job, and I think the team has really picked up on that. Having him in the middle will shore things up for us." ... The Suns improved to 24-22 on opening night, 15-7 at home. ... G C.J. McCollum (left foot) and G Earl Watson (left calf) were inactive for Portland.

What to Read Next