Suns look for better effort to commemorate Nash’s big day
PHOENIX — After a disappointing performance in their season opener on Wednesday, the Suns will try to muster up an effort on Friday night that is more worthy of their guest of honor.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash will be inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor at halftime of the Suns’ game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The game and ceremony can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Suns trailed by 27 points in the third quarter of a 111-95 loss to visiting Dallas. Last season’s leading scorer, Eric Bledsoe, missed eight of 12 shots and finished with 13 points.
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One of Phoenix’s other top scorers from 2014-15, Markieff Morris, fared even worse with four points on 1-of-6 shooting. Devin Booker had 14 points off the bench while making six of seven shots in his NBA debut, one shy of matching Brandon Knight’s team-best 15.
"I think everybody from top to bottom can take a piece of this loss," said center Tyson Chandler, who had three points and six rebounds in his first game for the Suns.
Chandler will try to help Phoenix avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 2011.
The Trail Blazers have won three straight against the Suns, but those wins were accomplished with a big boost from departed forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who departed as a free agent, choosing San Antonio over Phoenix.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ overhauled roster figured to give new opportunities for its remaining players, and C.J. McCollum was the first to seize his chance.
Portland retained only one member of last season’s starting lineup, point guard Damian Lillard, but the retooled Blazers looked in sync with a 112-94 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday that extended their streak of season-opening victories to a league-best 15.
McCollum scored 37 points, topping his previous regular-season high by 10, in his fourth career start. He had 28 of those points in the first half. The guard averaged 6.3 points in his first two seasons.
"It’s been a long time coming for me," McCollum said. "I’ve worked so hard for this moment to get an opportunity to play opening night and the coaching staff to have trust in me."
McCollum gave a glimpse of his potential in the final month of the 2014-15 season and an opening-round playoff loss to Memphis.
He averaged 15.6 points on 53.2 percent shooting in the final eight games, and 25.7 points on 60.9 percent shooting in the last three of the five matchups with the Grizzlies.
"I’ve been telling you guys that (McCollum) can play, and he can explode," Lillard said. "I think you guys got a chance to see it last year in the playoffs just a little bit. Tonight, you guys saw what we’ve been seeing for two, three years now in practice, him just making shots, and tough shots."
Lillard finished with 21 points and 11 assists in Wednesday’s win.
- Brandon Knight
- CJ McCollum
- Damian Lillard
- Devin Booker
- Eric Bledsoe
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Suns
- Markieff Morris
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Tyson Chandler