Portland Trail Blazers (25-36) vs. Phoenix Suns (49-12)
The Portland Trail Blazers head out on the road to play the Phoenix Suns after two losses at home. The Suns are the top team in the Western Conference, while Portland is still flirting with the play-in at 11th place. It is the fourth time these two teams have battled, and the Suns came out tops last time 111-107 in overtime.
UPDATE: Devin Booker has been downgraded to out due to health and safety protocols.
Wednesday, March 2nd - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, ESPN
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Justise Winslow (out)
Suns injuries: Devin Booker (out), Frank Kaminsky (out), Chris Paul (out, Dario Saric (out), Cameron Payne (probable)
SBN Affiliate: Bright Side of the Sun
What To Watch For
Turnovers. Portland is 10-14 when they are minimizing turnovers compared to the other team. Currently, the Blazers are averaing 13.2 turnovers per game. Against this Suns squad, that could give them a potential edge. Against the Nuggets, the Blazers had 15 to their 14, which cost them.
Personnel. Head coach Chauncey Billups has said that he is going to tweak the lineups down the stretch as players learn his system and learn their roles. The small ball lineup was not effective against the Nuggets, and it is unlikely to work against the Suns and Deandre Ayton.
Second Quarter Blues. The Trail Blazers have struggled in the second quarter against both the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors. Both teams went on runs that effectively snuffed any chance or hope that the Blazers had of getting a win as they were forced to claw their way back from deficits. How the second quarter goes will determine the outcome of this game.
What Others Are Saying
Brandon Duenas of Bright Side of the Sun noted that the Suns are looking to snap out of a small losing streak.
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.”
The 25-year-old and the Suns would be hosting a lemonade stand in central Phoenix at a park to fulfill a bet he made with teammate Mikal Bridges.
The two, who call each other their twin, were able to go to the game together. Bridges made sure to ridicule Johnson and remind him to get his stand ready once the final result was set.