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Game Preview: Suns first road trip of the season takes them to Portland

Dame versus Book is must see TV.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (1-0) @ Portland Trail Blazers (1-0)

When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -4, O/U 224.5, Suns Moneyline -175

We’re coming off of quite the Suns’ opener, aren’t we. After all is said and done, however, it’s just one game. The thrilling 107-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks was impressive as the team marched backed from a 22-point deficit to avenge their choke job in the Western Conference Finals. It was awesome. It was amazing. It put the Suns at...1-0.

The Trail Blazers are a team that finished 27-55 last year as their superstar, Dame Lillard, only played in 29 games. They (finally) traded away C.J. McCollum. They embraced the rebuild. And now, following a 115-108 win against the Sacramento Kings, are looking to find their place in a crowded Western Conference.

Starting Lineups



  • Landry Shamet (hip) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (working on next hype video) is OUT


  • Gary Payton II (abdomen) is OUT
  • Trendon Wafford (hip) is OUT
  • Oliver Sarr (wrist) is OUT

What to Watch For

Just because the Suns won on Wednesday, it doesn’t mean we don’t still have some question marks that need to be answered. The defensive unit will be the subject of much criticism this season, and with performances like they had against the Mavericks, rightfully so.

The bench wasn’t horrible, primarily due to Damion Lee’s 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep. The rest of the bench went 6-of-17 (35.2%) from the field and 1-of-6 (16.6%) from beyond the arc. Phoenix needs consistent offense from their second team unit, so watch to see how they perform against Portland, who’s second team unit lit it up against the Kings (52.9 FG%, 57.1 3PT%).

Jerami Grant is now a Blazer and went for 23 and 8 in their opener on Wednesday. Josh Hart had 19, Anfernee Simons had 22, and Dame Time had 20. It was a balanced offensive attack for Portland.

Deandre Ayton looked fantastic against the Mavs...when he was on the court. He played 23 of the 24 second half minutes and, when his power combined with Booker, the duo was legendary.

We’ll see if this trends continues on the road tonight.

Fun Fact

The Suns are 6-1 in their last 7 games against the Blazers. The last time that Portland beat Phoenix was October 23, 2021. The leading rebounder for the Suns in that game, with 5? Frank Kaminsky.

Keys to a Suns Win

Gimme more Ayton, please.

DA has played Jusuf Nurkic four times in his career. Nurkic is averaging 12.3 points and 12 rebounds, and is a +49 in those games. The Suns are 1-3 in the games in which they’ve matched up. Ayton has to go into DOMINAYTON mode for the Suns to win this one.


It’s the home opener for Portland and the energy will be high. Phoenix will struggle matching their energy, especially from the second team unit. Ayton will have his hands full, we’ll be frustrated, but a late surge by the Suns will push them past the Blazers.

Suns 114, Blazers 112

When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube:

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