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Aron Baynes scores career high 37 as Suns beat Blazers

Aron Baynes scores career high 37 as Suns beat Blazers

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) is fouled by Portland Trail Blazers forward Wenyen Gabriel (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Aron Baynes scored a career-high 37 points on a career-high nine 3-pointers, Dario Saric added 24 points and the Phoenix Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 127-117 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Baynes was 9 of 14 from long distance and 12 of 23 overall. He also had 16 rebounds.

Phoenix never trailed and made 19 3-pointers. It was a much-needed win for the Suns after they had lost four straight home games to hurt their already fading playoff hopes.

The 6-foot-10 Baynes is an eight-year NBA veteran but almost never shot 3-pointers until last season. He made it a big part of his game when he joined the Suns this season and was hitting them at a 33% rate coming into Friday.

He came out firing against the Blazers, hitting five from beyond the arc in the first quarter, which already beat his career high of four, He was especially good from his favorite spot at the top of the key. His nine 3-pointers tied a single-game franchise record.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates a 3-pointer against the Portland Trail Blazers by Suns' Aron Baynes, near guard Ricky Rubio (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

CJ McCollum led Portland with 25 points, and Damian Lillard had 24. Hassan Whiteside added 23 points and 20 rebounds. The Blazers are among the teams fighting with the Suns for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They're 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis. The Suns are six games back.

The Suns led 56-33 midway through the second quarter but Portland responded with a big run to close the gap to 67-58 by halftime. Baynes had 22 points by the break, making six 3-pointers. McCollum had 16 points for the Blazers.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Whiteside had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in the first half. ... Portland had won two straight before Friday's loss.

Suns: Phoenix had just nine healthy players. Starting center and former Arizona Wildcat Deandre Ayton missed the game after spraining his ankle at the end of Tuesday's loss to Toronto. Cameron Johnson (illness), Kelly Oubre Jr. (right knee injury) and Frank Kaminsky III (right patella stress fracture) were also out.

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