What: Phoenix Suns (19-10) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (18-11)
When: 7:00 P.M. MST
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena
Watch: Fox Sports, League Pass
Listen: 98.7 FM
The Suns host the Blazers and an arguably snubbed All-Star starter in Damian Lillard, Lillard should probably be in the MVP conversation, but he was surpassed as an All-Star starter due to fan voting on Luka Doncic’s side.
This is a very early battle for home court playoff advantage as these two teams sit at fourth and fifth in the West. If the Suns win, they hold a 2 game lead on the fourth seed but if the Blazers win, they jump ahead.
Lillard has been an absolute BEAST this season, having to lead his team without C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Through their last nine games, they’ve gone 7-2 and Dame is averaging 4.8 three-pointers, 32.2 points and 9.3 assists per game.
Fun Fact - Phoenix hasn’t faced Portland since March 10, 2020 (349 days) and the Suns hold a 27-10 record since.
Projected Starting Lineups
Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Frank Kaminsky, Deandre Ayton
Damian Lillard, Gary Trent Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington, Enes Kanter
Blazers: Harry Giles - OUT (Calf), C.J. McCollum - OUT (Foot), Jusuf Nurkic - OUT (Wrist), Zach Collins - OUT (Ankle)
Keys to the Game:
First and foremost for the Suns is not letting the face of the Blazers franchise go completely berserk. They aren’t going to stop him and they likely won’t even be able to limit him that much, even with their top-ten D.
However, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and the rest of the purple and orange army will have to do all they can to at least try to keep him from detonating on them. Ask the Pelicans how that feels (7 threes, 43 points, 16 assists).
Take Advantage of Poor Defense
The Blazers rank 28th in Defensive Rating, 25th in yielded field goal percentage, 22nd in three-pointers allowed and 25th in points allowed.
The Suns have a lot of offensive weapons and they would be wise to go into the game looking to fire at will.
Phoenix needs to be ready to pass the rock to the hot hand, whether that be Devin Booker, Chris Paul or another man ready to score. Maybe they can break the franchise record for threes made two games in a row.
Damian Lillard will get his and so will Chris Paul and Devin Booker. This will be a fun game and a lot of points will be scored. Sit back, grab the popcorn and enjoy.
Phoenix narrowly beats Portland 116-112.