What: Phoenix Suns (49-12) vs Portland Trail Blazers (25-36)
When: 8:00 PM AZ time
Where: Footprint Center
Watch: ESPN, Bally Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
The Line: The Suns are currently 13 point favorites on Draft Kings Sportsbook. The over/under for the game is sitting at 226.5.
The Phoenix Suns will look to snap out of a rare losing streak against a tanking Blazers team. Portland has gone 4-6 in their last 10 games and are without several key players.
Phoenix has not lost 3 games in a row this season, and after a tough loss against Utah they should be locked in for this one.
The Chris Paul injury combined with their 1-2 record has certainly shifted the narrative a bit for the time being. Yes, one loss was the second of back-to-back and the other a close loss to the Jazz, but they’ll need to rebound for this one.
Monty Williams is having none of the gloom and doom, though.
“If you win 49 games and then you lose two and you’re panicking...” he said with a shake of his head. “That’s nothing that has anything to do with us.”
Williams says you learn something from every game, but that the outcome of those games is independent of the learning opportunity.
Remember that 1-3 start to the season? People were worried then, that the Suns had lost their edge. They followed it with a 18-game win streak and a 48-7 run overall before losing another pair of games at once.
“We are so focused on having a great shoot-around [on Wednesday] and going from there,” Williams said.
It’s also a special day for play-by-play radio voice Al McCoy, as he’ll be honored and celebrated by the organization for his contributions to the Phoenix Suns over the years. Al is an absolute Phoenix Suns legend and deserves this spotlight more than anyone.
The Voice of the Suns for 50 years. Tomorrow, we’re celebrating Al McCoy for everything he has brought to the Phoenix Suns organization on and off the microphone.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 1, 2022
: https://t.co/VbPrxDPTHj pic.twitter.com/7KlnuVzWH9
To put this into perspectives, we have had the fortune to hear Al call the 1976 Finals (“the shot Heard round the world!”), the 1993 Finals and the 2021 Finals.
All we need now is for Al to call a Suns championship in his 50th season!
- Cam Payne (probable)
- Devin Booker
- Mikal Bridges
- Jae Crowder
- Deandre Ayton
Portland Trail Blazers
- Anfernee Simons
- Keon Johnson
- CJ Elleby
- Josh Hart
- Drew Eubanks
- Chris Paul — OUT
- Frank Kaminsky — OUT
- Dario Saric — OUT
- Damian Lillard — OUT
- Jusuf Nurkic — OUT
- Eric Bledsoe — OUT
- Joe Ingles — OUT
- Justise Winslow — OUT
- Nassir Little — OUT
- Cody Zeller — OUT
What to Watch
- Payne’s Return?
Cam Payne is officially listed as probable, which is a massive win for the CP3-less Suns. His return will lighten the creation workload of Devin Booker and simultaneously give the bench a needed boost.
Monty and Craig hinted Cam Payne back Wed night vs. Portland after missing 16 games.— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) March 2, 2022
He said Cam Payne would start when he returns, taking Book back off ball a bit and allowing Cam Johnson to move back to bench as their scorer.
Shifting Payne into the starting lineup allows Cam Johnson to generate a punch that the bench has been sorely lacking of late. As noted above, it also makes for less “point Book” lineups, making his life less complicated.
Aaron Holiday is also off the injury report, which is great news for the Suns’ backcourt and depth in general.
- Slowing down Simons
Anfernee Simons has been on a tear of late, carrying this depleted Blazers squad. The 22-year-old guard is averaging 26.8 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 2.5 RPG on 47/43/86 shooting splits. He has been the lone bright spot for the Blazers this season with all of the injuries and trades they’ve made during their rollercoaster season.
Is it time for him to enter Mikal Jail? Time will tell.
- Don’t play down to your competition
The Blazers will have nothing to lose, and everything to play for. Those teams can be dangerous if you let them hang around. I don’t expect Phoenix to come out flat for this one, considering their two-game losing streak and the return of Payne lifting the spirits of the team.
The Suns get yet another nationally televised game (ESPN), though their opponent isn’t exactly going to make it “must-see TV”. Either way, expect the Suns to show up for this one.
Suns win, 118-107. Number 50!
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