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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns Preview

Portland takes on Phoenix on the second night of a travel back-to-back.

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Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (40-29) vs. Phoenix Suns (48-21)

The Portland Trail Blazers finish up their last road game of the regular season tonight in Phoenix, taking on the Suns. It’s been a season of ups and downs, and in true Trail Blazer fashion, Portland is fighting hard for their spot in the playoffs. It might be starting to sound redundant, but this may be the most important game of the season for the Blazers.

Thursday, May 13 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, TNT, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Nassir Little (out)
Suns injuries: Abdel Nadir (out), Cameron Johnson (out), Deandre Ayton (out)
SBN Affiliate: Bright Side of the Sun

What To Watch For

  • Healthy Suns and Motivated Blazers. Unlike some of the teams Portland has faced recently, the Suns are a mostly healthy team. They’re also currently holding the number 2 seed. They’ve been a difficult opponent all season, and with a nearly full roster, it won’t be an easy win for Portland. But the Blazers know it’s important and the Suns haven’t been playing their best basketball of the season, coming off back to back losses to the Lakers and the Warriors.
  • Damian Lillard. He’s been known to come out and put up big numbers when it counts. To say that this game counts would be a massive understatement. Lillard is a leader, and there’s no doubt he will do everything he can to lead his team to victory. The three guard lineup that we have been seeing with Lillard, CJ McCollum and Norman Powell has been racking up the points, and I think we will continue to see that as the rest of the season plays out.
  • Blazers defense. It’s there — and it’s about time. The Trail Blazers kept the Utah Jazz to 98 points last night. Portland’s defense has been showing up lately, and they’re going to need it against the Suns. Phoenix moves the ball well and lazy defense isn’t going to cut it for this one. The Blazers can’t hope to simply outscore the Suns, they’re going to need to stop them as well. While that was a scary thing to have to depend on as a Blazers fan not long ago, Portland has stepped up its defense in big ways lately.

What Others Are Saying

There has been a lot of talk surrounding where the Blazers will land in seeding. Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian quoted Norman Powell on his thoughts:

“I love it,” Powell said, “We control our own destiny and I love that. I’ve been a part of that in Toronto multiple times throughout the season, even in the playoffs. It’s nothing new to me. I know the guys like to compete and I like to compete, so I’m looking forward to these last three games.”

Damian Lillard had a lot to say about how the team is finishing the season after the game on Wednesday:

“It’s what our identity has always been, blue collar team. Haven't always been the most talented, popular, had highest expectations from outsiders, but we got a lot of pride, we work hard. That’s why when its on the line we come. together and have our best moments.”

Dave Deckard from our very own Blazer’s Edge had this to say about the team following Wednesday’s game:

“This is the single most important game of the season. Portland has a chance to put their destiny beyond doubt, and to earn a precious few more days’ rest for their key players instead of facing the prospect of needing to play a full 48 minutes against a tough Denver squad on Sunday. They can also send a message to the Suns—who so far have had Portland’s number—that any eventual playoff series will not be easy, no matter whose arena the games are played in.”