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Season off to dominating start for Portland, which builds big early lead even without suspended guard McCollum

BLAZERS VS. SUNSThe Trail Blazers began their 2017-18 NBA season with a 124-76 road victory Wednesday over the Phoenix Suns.

Damian Lillard scored a game-high 27 points to lead the way for the Blazers, who took control early and were never challenged.

Portland has two more away games before its home opener. The Blazers will face Indiana at 4 p.m. PT Friday and Milwaukee at 5:30 p.m. PT Saturday.

The first home game is 7 p.m. Tuesday against New Orleans.

Phoenix took leads of 5-0 and 9-2, but Portland caught fire midway through the first quarter and was on top 29-21 after the first 12 minutes.

Evan Turner started at shooting guard for CJ McCollum, serving a one-game NBA suspension.

But it was reserve guard Pat Connaughton leading the way with 14 of his career-high 24 points in the quarter. That helped Portland's bench outscore the Suns' backups 18-0.

In the second quarter, things continued to slip away for the Suns, with Portland executing and well on offense. Portland finished the half with a 60-35 lead, having hit 7 of 13 shots from 3-point range and Phoenix at 28.6 percent from the field with only four assists.

After three quarters, the Blazers led 98-55.

Center Jusuf Nurkic had 11 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes for Portland.

Starting forwards Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu combined for 13 points, with Aminu leading all rebounders in the game with 12.

Turner had 12 points.

For Phoenix, guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker scored 15 and 12 points, respectively. Backup guard Mike James, from Grant High, had 12 points.

The Suns finished at 30.7 percent from the field, going 6 of 26 (23.1 percent) on 3-pointers).

Portland hit 48.9 percent from the floor and were 14 of 24 (58.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

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