Trail Blazers Shoot, Defend Their Way To Fourth-Straight Preseason Victory

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PHOENIX — Two of the main questions the Trail Blazers needed to answer going into preseason play was whether they could be at least an average defensive team and if they had enough three-point shooters to play the style of basketball they’ve employed under head coach Terry Stotts.

Five games into their six-game preseason schedule, they might have a few answers.

Portland shot 52 percent from three and held the Suns to 37 percent shooting on the way to defeating Phoenix 113-104 Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 13,230 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Trail Blazers are now 4-1 in exhibition play and have won four-straight preseason games for the first time since 2013.

Six Trail Blazers made at least one three-pointer Wednesday night, with center Meyers Leonard hitting his first four attempts from deep before finishing 5-of-6 from three for 17 points in 24 minutes. The 7-0 center out of Illinois also grabbed eight rebounds in his best game of the preseason.

Damian Lillard scored Portland’s first eight points before ending the night with 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 24 minutes. Evan Turner filled the stat sheet in just under 16 minutes of play, going 5-of-7 from the field for 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and two blocks.

Ed Davis, starting in place of Jusuf Nurkić (concussion), grabbed 12 rebounds to go with seven points in 17 minutes.

While the Suns would shoot 37 percent for the game, they were sub-30 percent for the first three quarters before a 43-point fourth quarter. Rookie Josh Jackson led the Suns in scoring with 22 points on 9-of19 shooting in just under 40 minutes.

Next up, the Trail Blazers finish their 2017 preseason schedule by hosting Maccabi Haifa Friday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.

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