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Game preview: Phoenix Suns host Portland Trail Blazers in second contest of back-to-back

The Suns will look to avenge their buzzer-beating 108-106 loss to the Trail Blazers Friday night.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (6-2) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (6-2)

When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -10, O/U 216.5, Suns Moneyline -475

The Phoenix Suns face the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a home back-to-back series for Phoenix Saturday night at Footprint Center in Phoenix

The Suns suffered their second loss to the Trail Blazers Friday night, 108-106. Portland led by as many as 15 points in the game before a Suns comeback was ultimately cut short by a game-winning shot (which may have included a travel) from forward Jerami Grant with one second remaining. Grant finished with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting, five assists and two rebounds.

The Suns trailed by 15 in the third quarter and took the lead three times in the final two minutes but could not close the contest. Phoenix struggled even with Portland’s top two scorers, Damian Lillard (31.0 points per game) and Anfernee Simons (22.0 points per game) out for the contest.

Starting shooting guard Devin Booker made a 3-pointer to give Phoenix a 106-104 lead with 31.3 seconds left before Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic got an offensive rebound and layup to tie the game with 23.4 seconds left. The Suns seemingly had the last possession of the game but starting forward Mikal Bridges traveled with one second left, giving Portland a chance to make the go-ahead shot.

Booker, the No. 10 scorer in the NBA, finished with 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting with five rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. Starting center Deandre Ayton had 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds.

Phoenix and Portland are tied for the best record in the Western Conference at 6-2. The Utah Jazz are right behind at 7-3.

Here are some of the notable statistics for each team provided by TeamRankings.

  • Points per game: Phoenix (No. 6, 116.8), Portland No. 18 (113.3)
  • Assists per game: Phoenix (No. 2, 29.4), Portland (No. 25, 22.9)
  • Rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 22, 51.3), Portland (No. 16, 52.5)
  • Average scoring margin: Phoenix (No. 3, +10.1), Portland No. 8 (+3.3)
  • Offensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 1), Portland (No. 13)
  • Team shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 5, 48.2 ), Portland (No. 10, 47.3)
  • Effective field goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 9, 55.1 ), Portland (No. 13, 54.3 )
  • 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 13, 36.3), Portland (No. 6, 38.5)
  • 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 6, 55.4), Portland (No. 19, 52.3)
  • Blocks per game: Phoenix (No. 19, 5.0) Portland (No. 23, 4.3)
  • Turnovers per game: Phoenix (No. 5, 13.5), Portland (No. 28, 16.8)
  • Opponent points per game: Phoenix (No. 5, 106.6), Portland (No. 9, 110.0)
  • Opponent shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 6, 45.0), Portland (No. 12, 46.0)
  • Opponent effective field-goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 8, 51.9), Portland (No. 14, 53.1)_
  • Opponent 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 17, 35.5), Portland (No. 23, 37.0)
  • Opponent 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 8, 51.0), Portland (No. 11, 51.6)
  • Opponent total rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 10, 50.4), Portland (No. 9, 50.1)

Starting Lineups




  • Cam Johnson (right knee) is OUT

—Cam will get an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage to his knee. If it’s a torn ligament, he could miss the rest of the season. If only sprained, he would still miss several weeks.

  • Cam Payne (left foot soreness) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Ish Wainright (personal) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (making burner accounts) is NOT WITH TEAM


  • Trendon Wafford (hip) is.... (did not play Friday)
  • Anfernee Simons (left foot) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Damian Lillard (right calf) is OUT
  • Gary Payton II (abdomen) is OUT
  • Olivier Sarr (right wrist) is OUT

Uniform Matchup

Courtesy of

What to Watch For

The Suns controlled most of their game against the Timberwolves Nov. 1, leading by as many as 15 points and dominating Minnesota’s starters.

Only two of the Timberwolves’ starters (Towns and Edwards) scored in double figures, as

Fun Fact

The Suns and the Trail Blazers have played 239 times in their history dating back to the 1970-71 season. Phoenix leads the all-time series 128-111 and has won six of the last nine meetings since the 2020-21 season.

Keys to a Suns Win

The Suns need to be better on the glass (they were minus-3 Friday night) and continue to feed Ayton to wear down Nurkic and get deep into Portland’s bench, which really only has 6-foot-9 forward Drew Eubanks as another backup big.

Without Cam Johnson available, the Suns could have backup forward Torrey Craig step into the starting lineup. Craig finished with eight points and six rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting in 23 minutes Friday, the most of any Suns player off the bench.

How will the Suns make up for Johnson’s 3-point ability? Phoenix went 14-of-34 from 3-point range Friday with Johnson mostly out. Bridges went 2-of-3 from 3-point range, Booker went 3-of-7 and backup shooting guard Damion Lee went 3-of-5. Phoenix will need a better effort from that range to win.


The Suns went 22-9 in back-to-back games over the last two seasons and have suffered back-to-back losses only seven times over the last two seasons. Even without Johnson, the Suns have been very resilient under coach Monty Williams.

That will likely be the case Saturday night. Portland could return some of its injured players but the Suns will have another chance to win at home, where they are 81-41 in their tenure under coach Monty Williams.

It is hard to see the Suns losing back-to-back games and especially another opportunity against Portland, which it is 0-2 against this season. Phoenix will respond and reascend to first place in the Western Conference.

Suns 115, Blazers 108

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