Preview: Portland At Phoenix
When: 9:30 PM ET, Friday, December 11, 2015
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
The Phoenix Suns are vying to complete a three-game season sweep of Portland when they host the Trail Blazers on Friday. Phoenix won two late October meetings by an average of 14.5 points and limited Portland to an average of 91 points.
The Trail Blazers are aiming for a split of a four-game road trip that includes blowing an 18-point lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers before suffering a 105-100 loss on Tuesday. “I don’t know what you learn from nights like this except it stinks to lose close games,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said afterward. Phoenix has won back-to-back games after suffering through a stretch in which it lost eight of nine. Guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight each scored 21 points as the Suns recorded a 107-104 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, CSN Northwest (Portland), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (9-14): Winning close games continue to be an issue for Portland, which is just 5-10 in games in which the margin has been five or fewer points with less than five minutes remaining. The number of close losses has been frustrating for a team that has been revamped after losing four starters off last season’s squad. “I don’t think it’s that we’re youthful or that we haven’t been there,” backup forward Meyers Leonard told reporters. “We just – we have to come up with the plays that will win us games.”
ABOUT THE SUNS (10-13): Center Alex Len broke out with a big game against Orlando as he scored a career-best 20 points and tied his career high of 14 rebounds. “I have to give credit to my teammates,” Len said afterward while downplaying his strong outing. “They were looking for me the whole night.” Len might not be in the starting lineup against Portland if center Tyson Chandler (hamstring) is able to return after missing the previous seven games.
1. The Trail Blazers have lost 21 of their last 25 visits to Phoenix.
2. Phoenix PF Markieff Morris (sinus infection) is expected to be available after sitting out Wednesday.
3. Portland PG Damian Lillard had 33 points in the loss to Cleveland, his third-highest output of the season.
PREDICTION: Suns 118, Trail Blazers 111