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NBA Game Preview: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers

Dec 14, 2021

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Game: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers 

Time: 10:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Suns -2.5, Clippers +2.5 

Total: 218 

The Phoenix Suns enter tonight’s game at Portland fresh off a rare loss last night to the Clippers. It was not a surprising loss though as Phoenix played without Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric have also been out indefinitely and all four are listed on tonight’s injury report as well. 

Cam Johnson led the Suns last night with 17 points and Mikal Bridges had 16. The Suns didn’t break 100 in the 111-95 loss. Despite the loss, the Suns still have the second-best record in the NBA (21-5) and remain in second place in the Western Conference behind Golden State. 

Portland has had its share of troubles this season. The Trail Blazers are in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They have just one win in their last nine games. Portland’s last win came on Nov. 30, a 110-92 victory over Detroit, the team with the NBA’s worst record (4-22). 

The Trail Blazers have faced their share of injuries and illnesses. Damian Lillard just returned to the lineup in Sunday night’s loss to Minnesota. The perennial All-Star scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out six assists. It was Lillard’s first game since Nov. 29. He is off to a slow start this season and averages 21.6 per game so far. 

Lillard’s backcourt mate C.J. McCollum hasn’t played since Dec. 4. McCollum, who averages 20.6 points per game, has a collapsed lung and is out indefinitely. Portland’s problems go deeper than McCollum and Lillard missing time. The Trail Blazers are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA this season. 

Portland ranks 28th in opponent field goal percentage and 30th in opponent three-point field goal percentage. When you don’t defend the other team’s shooters, teams are going to roll up a lot of points. The Trail Blazers are No. 25 in points allowed per game this season at 111.2. 

Phoenix is one of the better offensive teams in the NBA ranking No. 2 in field goal shooting and eighth in scoring averaging 110.8 points per game. Their problem, of course, is that they will be missing their leading scorer in Booker (23.2 ppg) and possibly another productive scorer and rebounder in Ayton who is the team’s second-leading scorer (16.3 ppg) and leading rebounder (11.1 rpg). 

Neither team is one to back against the spread. Both the Suns and Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. However, Phoenix is 7-3 ATS in its last ten games against Portland. The Trail Blazers play much better at home than on the road. Portland is 10-5 straight up at home compared to 1-11 on the road this season.  

Both teams trend Under as well. The total has gone Under in six of the Suns’ last seven games. For Portland, the total has gone Under in four of the last six games. In the series between the two teams, four of the last five totals have gone Over.