Team Records: Portland (0-0) at Phoenix (0-0)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -5.5
Refs: Marc Davis, Courtney Kirkland, Scott Twardoski
The Skinny: The Blazers kick off their 2013-14 campaign against one of the worst teams in the league. The Suns were already pretty bad going into preseason but then they shipped Gortat to the Wizards for the oft-injured Okafor and another first round pick. This is the type of game Portland has to win if they want to make a playoff push.
Last Season: Phoenix won the season series 2-1, with Portland winning the first game and Phoenix the final two.
Projected Suns Lineup (12-13 Averages, except for Frye):
PF-Channing Frye (Arizona-8th Season)-10.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.4 APG.
SF-PJ Tucker (Texas-3rd Season)-6.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG.
C-Miles Plumlee (Duke-2nd Season)-.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, .1 APG
SG-Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky-4th Season)-8.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 3.1 APG.
PG-Goran Dragic (Slovenia-6th Season)-14.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7.4 APG
Player to Watch-Goran Dragic (pictured at right)- Following in the steps of future hall of famer Steve Nash is a tough task for any player, and it is impossible for him to come close to what Nash did for the Suns. Still, Dragic is no slouch. Dragic is an aggressive attacking point guard who can finish well with his left hand, and draws plenty of fouls to boot. His passing is not great but its improving, and his turnovers are slightly down this season. Dragic is a very good defender as well, being the ideal size defensively for a point guard, he has good instincts and is rarely caught out of position. He may be no Nash but he’s a solid starting PG for the Suns as they look to rebuild.
Did You Know?: The Blazers are 5-0 in season openers against the Suns, with all five previous matchups taking place in Portland.
Song of the Day: “Bust a Bucket” by Dan Reed and the 1991-12 Blazers. The awesome theme song from the year the Blazers last made a NBA finals run. Bust a bucket, who’d a dunk it, Blazer duty, super sunk it, slammin’ geez it, killer threes it, go up-get it-got it-good! Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Foot), Questionable-PG Earl Watson (Calf)
Phoenix: Out-C Emeka Okafor (Neck), PF Markieff Morris (Suspension)
There are fun bad teams, like the Warriors and the Raptors in previous seasons. The Suns are not one of these teams. About all Phoenix has going for it is Dragic and Bledsoe, since beyond that, the cupboard is pretty bare. The Suns are expected to be among the worst in the league on both offense and defense, and this is not entirely a bad thing. With four possible first round picks, this season is being sacrificed for the sake of the future.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Play their game. The Blazers are better than the Suns and if they just play a decent game they should win fairly easily.
Phoenix wins if: They get some opening night magic. Teams often play surprisingly well in their home openers and they will need a fair bit if they are to prevail Wednesday.