Blazers clinch playoff spot with win over Suns

Blazers beat Phoenix Suns 109-86 Monday night at Moda Center

Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez, center, shoots over Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker, right, and forward Markieff Morris, left, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez, center, shoots over Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker, right, and forward Markieff Morris, left, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, March 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 19 points before sitting the final quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers secured a playoff berth with a 109-86 victory Monday night over the Phoenix Suns.

The Blazers have won four straight as they edge closer to their first Northwest Division title since 2008-09.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Portland led by as many as 31 points. The Blazers rested all of their starters in the fourth quarter after building a 92-65 lead.

The Suns have lost four straight, and while they are mathematically still in the playoff picture, the chances are dwindling. Phoenix plays six of its last eight games on the road.

Gerald Green came off the bench to lead the Suns with 13 points. Eric Bledsoe added 12 in the Suns’ seventh loss by 20 or more points this season.

The Blazers also clinched the season series against the Suns for the first time since the 2010-11 season, winning 3-1.

Phoenix was without guard Brandon Knight, who tweaked his sprained left ankle in a 109-97 loss at home to Oklahoma City on Sunday night. Knight had just returned after missing eight games because of the injury.

Portland was coming off a 120-114 victory at home over Denver on Saturday.

The Suns jumped in front 15-8 early in the game, but Nicolas Batum’s long jumper and 3-pointer pulled Portland ahead 21-17 and the Blazers led 31-22 after the first quarter.

Robin Lopez’s tip put the Blazers ahead 53-37, but Green punctuated the first half with a dunk for the Suns to close within 55-49.

Batum hit a 3-pointer that capped a 17-4 run to open the second half and pushed Portland’s lead to 72-53. The Blazers outscored the Suns 37-16 in the third quarter.

Batum finished with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.

Suns center Alex Len left the game in the second half and was getting X-rays for what the team said was a possible broken nose.

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TIP-INS

Suns: The Suns are 8-27 when trailing after three quarters, including 5-17 on the road. … Marcus and Markieff Morris each had 11 points.

Trail Blazers: Portland improved to 30-7 at home. …. The Blazers had signed D-League guard Tim Frazier for the rest of the season. Frazier, who plays for the Maine Red Claws, recently finished a pair of 10-day contracts with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he averaged 5.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists in six games.

UP NEXT

Suns: Visit Golden State on Thursday.

Trail Blazers: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

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