By DAVID BRANDT – AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — Even without their All-Star backcourt, the Phoenix Suns are a heavy load to handle.
Cam Johnson scored 20 points, Deandre Ayton added 18 and the Suns became the first NBA team to 50 wins this season by easily beating the Portland Trail Blazers 120-90 on Wednesday night.
“It feels good,” Johnson said. “Fifty is a big benchmark in this league, but now we want to get to 60.”
It is certainly a good possibility. The Suns only need to go .500 the rest of the regular season to reach 60 wins.
Phoenix won this one without starting guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Paul has been out since Feb. 16 with a broken thumb and could miss the rest of the regular season. Booker was placed under the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Wednesday, but the Suns were unflinching.
“We know how to adapt,” Ayton said.
Johnson was 6 of 8 from the field and Ayton 9 of 12 to help Phoenix end a two-game skid and break a tie with Golden State for the NBA’s best home record at 27-7. Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder each added 15 points, with Bridges shooting 6 of 9.
Brandon Williams had a career-high 14 points for Portland. The exhausted Trail Blazers have lost three straight since the All-Star break — all by at least 30 points — and fell to 25-37. They shot just 38.5 percent from the field and were hurt by 19 turnovers.