Playing without the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in Phoenix on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers stunned the Suns with a 108-106 win.
The game came down to the very last move: one game in with one second remaining. The game was tied at 106, forward Jerami Grant curled to the basket – taking a bump from Suns center Deandre Ayton – and Justise Winslow tossed the ball to him for the fadeaway flush.
The shot was spectacular, but the setup is also worth praising. After the game, Grant had this to say about the pass (H/T: Aaron Fentress, The Oregonian):
“It was a good pass. We have a connection. I knew [Winslow] for a long time. I know how he plays, he knows how I play. It was right there.
Winslow, a smile playing on the corner of his mouth, guided reporters through his thinking leading to the winning game.
“I thought it wouldn’t be open on the edge, but I just wanted to put enough air under it so he could read it like a broad and figure out where it was going. So I just somehow so vomit.
That kind of team cohesion is what has made the Trail Blazers successful so far, and what could take them to new and unexpected heights as the season progresses.
With the victory, Portland won the season series against Phoenix. The Suns are now plotting their revenge in the second half of this straight streak, once again welcoming the Trail Blazers for a chance at redemption.