The defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns look for a second win in as many nights when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. The contest is scheduled for a 10 p.m. ET tip-off at Moda Center in Portland, Ore.
Phoenix is coming off a 115-105 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, evening its record at 1-1. The Suns are looking for a second straight trip to the NBA Finals.
Portland was edged at home by the Sacramento Kings in its opener on Wednesday, 124-121.
The Trail Blazers lost in the first round of last year’s playoffs to the Denver Nuggets and are playing their second game under head coach Chauncey Billups.
Back To Business
After looking bad in their season-opening loss at home to the Nuggets, the Suns rebounded nicely, topping the favored Lakers in a blowout that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate. Phoenix led by 27 heading to the fourth quarter before Los Angeles made a run, but the Suns’ lead never got below 10 points.
Guard Chris Paul reached a milestone in the contest, scoring his 20,000th career point, becoming the 47th player in league history to reach that plateau. He finished with 23 points and 14 assists, hitting 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
“Like a kid,” Paul said when asked how he felt after the Phoenix win. “When you get done playing this game, you want to have things to remember things. I’m going to keep (the game ball) for sure.”
Guard Devin Booker rebounded from a disappointing season opener to score 22 points in the win. He shot just 9-of-19 from the field and 2-of-6 from the 3-point line, however, as he continues to work into form.
Forward Mikal Bridges had 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Bridges could be a key piece to the Suns’ title defense if he can keep up that kind of production.
Billups made his name in leading the Detroit Pistons to an NBA title, but his head coaching debut in the league didn’t go according to plan. Portland trailed by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before rallying to make their season opener a close loss.
Guard Damian Lillard didn’t have a good night, shooting 8-of-24 from the field, including 0-of-9 from 3-point range. If Portland is going to have any chance against the Suns, Lillard must be hitting at a much higher rate, especially from long range.
Guard CJ McCollum was the offensive catalyst for the Trail Blazers, scoring 34 points, including six 3-pointers. McCollum will likely get the job of defending Booker, so he’ll need to be at his best on both ends of the floor.
Suns Win On the Road
Phoenix just has too much firepower and experience together to not get the win in this one. The Suns are on the back end of a back-to-back, but they have the depth to be able to stay fresh enough to win as an underdog on the road.
When doing your NBA betting, take the Suns to win outright on the road.