Team Records: Phoenix (28-22) at Portland (32-16)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on TNT, Radio on 620 AM
TNT Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Mike Fratello, Rachel Nichols
Vegas Line: Portland -4.5
Refs: Scot Foster, Brian Forte, Justin Van Duyne
The Skinny: The Blazers look to take down the team that has probably given them more trouble as of late than anyone else as the Suns visit Portland. The Blazers have won only one of the last five outings versus Phoenix and that was on a Lillard last second shot. The Suns are 2-4 in their last six games as they fight to maintain playoff position.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers climbed all of the way out of the hole they dug for themselves but burned the team out doing so, falling 118-113.
Projected Suns Lineup:
PF-Markieff Morris (Kansas-4th Season)-15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2 APG.
SF-PJ Tucker (Texas-4th Season)-7.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 APG.
C-Alex Len (Maryland-2nd Season)-.6.2 PPG, 6 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Goran Dragic (Slovenia-7th Season)-16.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4 APG
PG-Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky-5th Season)-16.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6 APG.
Player to Watch-Eric Bledsoe (pictured at right)- He didn’t want to come here but now he’s here to stay. Traded from the Clippers a few years back, it seemed like Bledsoe was hurt far more often than he was healthy and when he was healthy, he was okay at best. Well this year he’s played in every single game and is having the best season of his career. Bledsoe is a dynamic athlete with a strong frame and good vision. He’s also a good physical lockdown defender and can fight through contact on both ends of the court. He’s no all-star but he’s a solid piece on a playoff contending team.
Did You Know?: The Suns are 5-0 this year on national TV.
Song of the Day: “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels. Rolo’s back and other teams are gonna be in trouble. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder)
Re-Evaluating Phoenix: Taking the Step
Last year was no fluke. Sure the Suns struggled out of the gate but that was more due to getting unlucky than anything else. Last year the Suns were lucky, this year they weren’t, it happens. Yet this Suns bunch is struggling to stay on the ride side of the playoff line in a tough race. Its hard to take that step, especially with a team that although good, is not exactly among the NBA”s best. Yet, here’s hoping they do take that step this year and make the playoffs because they’re certainly a fun team. Just don’t let them take part of that step Thursday in Portland.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Phoenix’s 3 pointers. The Suns won the first time out because every time they needed one, they got a huge 3 pointer. If the Blazers can limit Phoenix from deep, they should win.
Phoenix wins if: They hold Portland under 100 points. Phoenix is not a very good defensive team, but they can score very well. If they hold the Blazers under 100, they should win.