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Game 23 Preview: Blazers vs. Suns

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Game Time:  6:00 p.m. Pacific  TV:  KGW

Back-to-back again, NBA?  Really?  How many of those do the L*kers have again?  Oh, that's right.  Don't ask, don't tell.

The Blazers played the Suns 3 days ago, a 106-99 victory.  That game was odd, however, in that the Suns shot over 50% from the field, over 50% from the three-point line, and over 80% from the free throw line but still lost.  The Blazers did none of those things.  That doesn't happen often in the NBA.  That's bad news for Portland because Phoenix can essentially play the same game they did on Tuesday and probably come out with a win this time.  Foul shots and emotion aren't going to bail out the Blazers on the road.  On the other side you have to ask what adjustments Portland has left.  They were doing well to win the last game.  This isn't a matchup where a gimmick will work unless that gimmick involves a huge, hulking post guy scoring consistently from three feet on a bulk-free Phoenix defense.  Portland doesn't have that.  Their mobile, defensive lineup is probably the best change-up to throw but even that comes perilously close to playing Phoenix's game in their own yard.

The Blazers know the Suns aren't going to stop them because Phoenix stops nobody.  They should find open shots and drives.  They have to convert.  Turning Steve Nash into a scorer was a nice plan last time, probably one they should pursue again.  After that it's energy, energy, rebounding, get back on "D", and more energy.  On a back-to-back night.  The deeper bench could be a key tonight, not only because they have more energy but because the Suns probably won't stop them any more than they stop the starting lineup.  Guys like Patty Mills, Armon Johnson, and Dante Cunningham should have a stronger impact in this game than most.

Hear revenge being plotted at Bright Side Of The Sun.

Enter tonight's Jersey Contest form here.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)