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| Sports |

Local Kid Jerryd Bayless Sticks Dagger in Suns in Tough 105-102 Loss to Blazers; Next Up: Washington Wizards on Saturday

Jerryd Bayless: The Phoenix native scored 29 against the Suns.
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Ouch

. This one stings: The Portland Trail Blazers totally dominated the fourth quarter and overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 105-102 Thursday night in Portland.

Steve Nash had an opportunity to bring the Suns back to life and send the game into overtime, but his three-point shot at the buzzer clanged off the rim. Here's a not-so-fun fact for you: The Suns have now lost 17 straight games that have been televised nationally on TNT. Really.

The game was the second-straight road loss for the Suns, who fell to 17-9 on the season. That's not a bad record, but after a white-hot start to the season, the Suns have looked like a good-but-not-great team. The good news for the Suns is that they play 10 of their next 12 games at US Airways Center, where they are undefeated in only nine games this season.

What did in the Suns on Thursday night?

Turns out it was local-boy-done-good Jerryd Bayless. The former St. Mary's High School star and former Arizona WIldcat scored 29 points in just 29 minutes off the bench. When point guard Andre Miller went down in the second quarter, Bayless got the call. Entering Thursday night's game, the 21-year-old had averaged only 11 minutes and six points a game. Actually, given the Blazers' injury woes, Bayless has been getting more playing time lately, averaging 11.3 points over his past nine games. So it's good to see a Phoenix kid doing well in the NBA, but let's hope he doesn't inflict any more damage to the Suns this year.


A major factor in the loss was the absence of Jason Richardson, who sat this one out with a sprained ankle. Richardson's replacement, Goran Dragic, more or less stunk up the place with only nine points on 3-of-7 shooting. Grant Hill picked up the slack a bit by scoring 20 points, but you don't want to have to count on the old-timer for that kind of performance every night. It's not going to happen.

Amar'e Stoudemire had 27 points (even though he shot just under 50 percent) and picked up 11 rebounds. Nash scored 16 points and 13 assists.

The Suns come home on Saturday night to face the Washington Wizards. Really, this is a game the Suns should, and probably will, win. The Wizards are just 7-16 and losers of six straight. They have the fifth-worst record in the league, despite having some decent players in Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, and Caron Butler. But like the Suns, they don't play much defense, giving up 101.5 points a game. That's actually better than Suns (who give up 105.6 points a game), but the Suns simply have more good players than the Wizards. So, obviously, expect a crazy shootout on Saturday.

Tipoff: 7 p.m. TV: My45. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. Info: www.suns.com 

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