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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns Preview

Can the Blazers snag a win against the reigning Western Conference champions?

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (0-1) vs. Phoenix Suns (1-1)

Game two of the Blazers’ 2021-22 season sees them matching up against the reigning Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns. The Blazers are coming into this game after two days off, whereas the Suns are playing their second game of a back-to-back.

Saturday, October 23 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBA TV, ROOT Sports, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Tony Snell (day to day)
Suns injuries: Landry Shamet (day to day), Dario Saric (out)
SBN Affiliate: Bright Side of the Sun

What To Watch For

  • Bounce-back games. Both Damian Lillard and Norman Powell had shooting nights that don’t come very often in their season opener. Lillard missed all nine of his three point attempts, and Powell shot just nine shots, making only three of them. Both starters are key contributors to Portland’s offense, and a bounce back game for either or both of them could be the jump start the Blazers need to swing momentum back in their favor early in this season.
  • Deandre Ayton. Following a dispute between Ayton and the Suns organization over a contract extension, Ayton clearly wants to impress early in this season to show his worth. So far this season, Ayton has averaged 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. The sample size is small, being just two games, but the Blazers hope that Ayton does not return to the incredible form he was playing at in the playoffs last year for at least one more game. Jusuf Nurkic and Cody Zeller will have the important task of defending Ayton and throwing him off his rhythm.
  • CJ McCollum. Although Lillard struggled in the first game of the season, McCollum picked up the slack and kept the Blazers competitive throughout. It is worth noting that McCollum averaged 26.7 points per game before getting injured 13 games into the 2020-21 season. McCollum being able to capture the magic that he found early in last season could drastically alter the Blazers’ ceiling heading into this season.

What Others Are Saying

John Voita of Bright Side of the Sun talked about the perfect fit of the Suns’ off-season addition Landry Shamet.

The Suns have always needed sustained scoring while their best scoring option caught his breath and prepared to perform in the important minutes in the game. Enter Landry Shamet.

The marriage between the Phoenix Suns and Landry Shamet is a beautiful one. Shamet is a true shooting guard. While Phoenix has had their issues filling the space behind Booker, Shamet has had his own challenges relative to usage.

Angelo Guinhawa of Clutch Points talked about the leadership of Chris Paul and how that leadership improves the Suns.

Chris Paul has shown time and time again that he is one of the best floor generals in the NBA today, and with him on the floor, the Suns should be able to compete night in and night out.

Phoenix will hope to replicate and eventually surpass the success they had in 2020-21, and with Paul leading the way, they undoubtedly have a good chance to do so. The West remains as competitive as ever, but it will be a mistake to write off a talented team like the Suns headed by a veteran on a mission to win his first ring.