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Game Preview: It’s not your normal preseason game as Suns and Trail Blazers face off tonight

Following a franchise-altering trade just weeks ago, emotions will be high in PDX.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

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

When: 7:00pm AZ Time

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Watch: Suns Live, NBATV, AZ Family 3TV, AZ Family Sports

Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM


Can’t think of any storylines here, can we? I’m sure I will try to find something. Oh wait! I thought of one!

Three weeks ago Deandre Ayton was a member of the Suns. Now he is the opposition. After five years playing in Phoenix, DA is now in Blazer black and red. This is the first time he will play against Phoenix in his career. What does he have to say about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He doesn’t wanna talk about it.

Dang. It was that bad? I can go on and on about the immaturity that I perceive from that interaction, but who really cares? Personally, I think it fortifies the decision made by Phoenix. And I’ll leave it at that.

The other side of this coin is that Jusuf Nurkic, Nasir Little, and Keon Johnson are returning to Portland. Drew Eubanks is well, although he finds himself on the injury report for this game. Yes, the Phoenix Suns rosters four players, who spent last season in Portland. There will be a comfortability for them as they enter the Moda Arena to take on the team that they played for last season.

Starting Lineups


  • Bradley Beal
  • Devin Booker
  • Josh Okogie
  • Kevin Durant
  • Jusuf Nurkic


  • Scoot Henderson
  • Anfernee Simons
  • Matisse Thybulle
  • Jerami Grant
  • Deandre Ayton



  • Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal rest) are OUT
  • Damion Lee (right knee meniscus) is OUT
  • Jordan Goodwin (right hamstring tightness) is OUT
  • Ish Wainright (right calf strain) is OUT


  • No one listed

What to Watch For

Deandre Ayton versus Yusuf Nurkic will be what everyone will be watching, on both sides. Portland wants to see their young athletic center take on the lumbering Nurkic, back him down, and eviscerate him. They’re in for a surprise. Phoenix fans want to see the same, and I think we might be surprised as well.

One interesting storyline that I like here is the fact that the BBD Trio will be playing again. Bradley Beal, Devin, Booker, and Kevin Durant are all slated to start after sitting out the game against the Denver Nuggets. We witnessed how effective they were when they played in the first game against the Detroit Pistons, and we have been patiently waiting for an opportunity to see them play again.

Could there be plays in which Book runs high screen action in an effort to try to have Ayton guard him one-on-one? That could be fun to see. And it could be fun to see the result.

Scoot Henderson, the second-overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, will be on display as well. Scoot brings a tenacity and athleticism to the guard position that will be hard to guard. Will Beal or Booker draw the assignment? Or is Vogel relying on Josh Okogie to disrupt the quick rookie’s offensive output?

Keys to a Suns Win

No victories needed, although you want mini victories on the court. What do those victories look like? The implementation of more offensive sets for the BBD Trio. More real time substitution patterns, primarily in the first half. More comfortability for players, like Keita Bates-Diop, and Bol Bol. More penetration and pressure on the opposition. More hands raised and hustle on the defensive end.


The Suns depth will once again be on display and that, coupled with the first-team talent, is a clear advantage for the Suns. Easy dub.

Suns 115, Blazers 104

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