Team Records: Phoenix (5-2) at Portland (5-2)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -7
Refs: Bill Kennedy, Eric Dalen, David Jones
The Skinny: The Blazers look to avenge their opening night loss in Phoenix as the welcome the Suns to town for their final home game before a four-game east coast swing. Phoenix comes in having won two straight, albeit over bottom feeder Denver and struggling New Orleans. The Suns will look for their first road win over a team with a winning record Wednesday night.
Last Time They Met Phoenix dominated the game from almost the opening tip as Portland’s defense failed to show and the Suns rolled to an easy opening night win.
Projected Suns Lineup:
PF-Channing Frye (Arizona-8th Season)-6.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, .1 APG.
SF-PJ Tucker (Texas-3rd Season)-8.1 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.9 APG.
C-Miles Plumlee (Duke-2nd Season)-11.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, .3 APG
SG-Gerald Green (Gulf Shores Academy (HS)-7th Season)-13.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.1 APG
PG-Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky-4th Season)-20.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 7.3 APG.
Player to Watch-Eric Bledsoe (pictured at right) – Bledsoe has seemingly been in the shadow of others his entire career, beginning at Kentucky, where he was behind John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and in the NBA where he was overshadowed by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. However, Bledsoe is a solid player in his own right and given his chance to start in Phoenix, has flourished. A lighting fast guard with the ability to get to the rim, Bledsoe isn’t the most efficient scorer (although he is shooting a career high 46% this year) but he is relentless, even if he turns the ball over way too often. His real strength, however, is on defense, where he has a great feel for the game and can certainly at least make life difficult for the opposing point guard. He might not be a star but he is one to watch for sure.
Did You Know?: Jeff Hornacek is the Suns first head coach to win his first four home games.
Song of the Day: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. The signature song for one of Phoenix’s favored sons. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot).
Phoenix: Out-C Emeka Okafor (Neck), Questionable-PG Goran Dragic (Ankle), C Alex Len (Ankle).
Re-Evaluating Phoenix: Don’t Believe the Start
You might not remember, but the 2006-07 Blazers started the season 4-2, including a home win over the Lakers. They would finish 32-50. Or how about last year’s Bobcats, who started 6-4 but finished 21-61. Starting fast when you are a bad team isn’t anything new and it isn’t anything to be the excited about. Good teams, or even average teams, often work their way into the season, taking time to get into full game shape and play their best. Bad teams, however, often start fast as they are playing near their max level. Such is the case for the Suns, who will likely finish well below .500 and near the bottom the league. 5-2 is a nice start but it won’t last.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They land the early knockout punch. You can’t let a bad team hang around and believe they can win. Portland should jump on the Suns early and let them know there will be no victory tonight.
Phoenix wins if: They dominate turnovers and second chance points. The Suns do best when they dominate these two categories and they will have to if they want to win in Portland Wednesday.