Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Despite Deandre Ayton’s return from an ankle injury that kept him out the past week, the Suns fall to the short-handed Portland Trailblazers 108-106 who were without Damian Lillard (calf) and Anfernee Simons (foot). The Suns lost in the final seconds of the game after turning over the ball on a travel, and ironically losing in a similar controversial fashion when Blazers Forward Jerami Grant iced the game on a step-back mid-range to give them the win.
However, losing an otherwise meaningless game in November was the least of their concerns, with the team also losing Cam Johnson to injury in the 1st quarter who did not return to the game. After his big performance on Tuesday, Suns were hoping to continue the momentum and gain some rhythm early in the season to carry going forward. Suns fans may recount this being Deja Vu in a sense dating back to last season where Johnson had a career-high 38 points in a March 4th matchup against the Knicks (where he also had a thrilling half-court game winning bank shot to seal the game). Johnson proceeded to miss over a couple weeks after suffering a quad contusion.
Johnson’s injury history is something that is certainly concerning for longevity, as he has had injury issues dating back to his collegiate days at UNC which limited his overall draft profile. This has carried over to his professional career as well, dealing with numerous different types of injuries that have kept Johnson out for varied amount of times.
Fox Sports (2022)
Cam is currently averaging 14.9 points, 1.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds shooting 44% from three. Hopefully Johnson’s most recent knee injury will not keep him out for long, and will be looking for more clarity from the team about the severity of it.
Speaking of injury, Deandre Ayton picked up right where he left off tonight scoring 24 points on 10-14 shooting, grabbing 8 rebounds, and even hitting a three. Devin Booker started off with a rough night, but bounced back in the 4th hitting a few crucial buckets including a pull-up three over Jusuf Nurkić to put the Suns up two. Damion Lee also had a positive performance adding 13 points and 19 minutes and hitting 3 threes.
Fortunately, the Suns do not have to wait long to get their revenge, with them playing the Blazers at home again tomorrow night on a back-to-back. Something tells me Book and co. are not happy with the results tonight and will adjust accordingly for tomorrow’s matchup.