By Steve Dewald
The Suns completed their preseason schedule with an ugly 116-83 loss to the Blazers. Phoenix’s porous defense allowed Portland to explode for 38 points in the first quarter. The Suns never recovered, and faced a double-digit deficit throughout the contest.
The Suns’ defense was spectacularly poor in the first quarter. The Blazers attacked flat-footed opponents early, and opened up a 21 point lead. Phoenix struggled to match Portland’s pace throughout the contest. Anytime the Blazers got out in transition, the deficit increased. Portland shot 60 percent from the field and didn’t commit a single turnover in the opening period.
Despite being pinned behind a double-digit margin for most of the game, there were some positives on defense. Shaquille Harrison is aggressive. His game needs some fine-tuning, but he did the best job of defending Seth Curry. Harrison pursued close-outs with purpose, and fought through screens better than any of his other...