What: Phoenix Suns host Portland Trail Blazers
Where: Downtown, at Talking Stick Resort Arena
When: 7:00 PM tip, AZ time
Why: Because it’s on the schedule and teams aren’t allowed to say nah
How: Collective Bargaining Agreement
Watch: Fox Sports Arizona
Listen: to Al McCoy on 98.7 FM
A night after starting the post All-Star part of their schedule by letting the middling Clippers score the first 19 points of the game... at home... in front of 17,000 hopeful fans... a night after once again getting down by 20+ in the first half for approximately the 50th game in a row... a night after building on their league lead in forcing the opposing to coach to call a timeout to blast his players for letting the Suns get the lead under 20 in the second half...
The Suns host the Portland TrailBlazers, who are 32-26 and sitting strong in playoff position. The Blazers have won four of their last five games, including wins over the Warriors and resurgent Jazz.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are once again the Blazers leading scorers by a wide margin.
Lillard is just dominating across the board (29 points, 6.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals per game) over the last 10, while C.J. McCollum is scoring 23 of his own on 43% 3P shooting.
Only Jusuf Nurkic (13.2) is scoring more than 8 points per game over the last 10 for the Blazers.
So far this season, the Blazers have delivered one of the Suns team-record four 40+ point losses this season (a 48-point win on opening night) followed by a pair of 7-point wins to give them a 3-0 edge on the season series.
They have no idea what to fix to be ready to play on any given night. To come out after a 9-day break with a dud like last night is disheartening. “Inexcusable” according to the coach. “Embarrassing” according to the players.
Let’s see if they can light a fire under their butts to show up with energy and focus tonight.
Devin Booker looks healthy again and Josh Jackson is really taking his opportunity to be the Suns third leading scorer this season behind Booker and T.J. Warren.
Over his last 10 games, Josh Jackson is putting up 18.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 blocks per game in 31 minutes of play. Major progress from the #4 overall pick, giving Suns fans hope that the second cornerstone of the Timeline is in place. They just need two more corners... and a pillar in the middle.
The Suns are on a season-long 8-game losing streak, have lost 13 of 14 and have lost 18 of 21 overall. Oof.
Would be folly to predict anything other than a 20-point first half deficit, followed by a spirited comeback to get the deficit to single digits, ending in a 7-15 point loss.