The Phoenix Suns currently hold the worst record in the league at 4-20 and things haven’t gotten any easier as they are now without their up-and-coming Devin Booker. They are on their way to tying their longest losing streak of the season at seven games if they don’t win tonight. Believe it or not, they have not had a winning streak yet this season.
The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, are trying to avoid a fourth straight loss, which would mark their longest losing streak this season. The Trail Blazers and the Suns have battled each other a grand total of 254 times in the past as the Suns won 135 games while the Oregon team was kept to 119 victories. Tonight will be the first of three times that two ball clubs will go against each other this season. The Suns got swept last season against the Trail Blazers in the regular-season series, 0-4.
-Devin Booker (hamstring; 23.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.7 APG, 43.9 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 84.2 FT%)
-T.J. Warren (ankle; 17.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 51.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%)
-Ryan Anderson (coach’s decision; 3.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 31.7 FG%, 20.6 3P%, 78.6 FT%)
-George King (G-League)
Portland Trail Blazers:
-C.J. McCollum (ankle; 21.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 46.4 FG%, 36.1 3P%, 82.9 FT%)
-Anfernee Simons (2.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 25.0 FT%)
The Portland Trail Blazers would set the tone early in this game as they outscored the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter, 34 to 9. This would not be the first time the Suns were held to just nine points in the first quarter as the Sacramento Kings had the same effect on them during the December 4th matchup. The Suns would lose that game by seventeen points. In this game, though, Troy Daniels scored ten points off the bench as he had two three-pointers in the second quarter. Josh Jackson helped out with eight points on fifty percent shooting. Overall, the Suns would complete thirty-eight percent of their shots in the first half while the Portland Trail Blazers completed fifty-five percent.
Damian Lillard got hot with twenty-one points for the home team while knocking down three three-pointers in the first quarter. He also had five rebounds, six assists, and one steal. Jusuf Nurkic chipped in seven points on only thirty-eight percent shooting. Seth Curry was kept completely scoreless while Al-Farouq Aminu had five points. Jake Layman played the most minutes off the bench as he had seventeen points while the Trail Blazers went into halftime with a commanding 62 to 41 advantage.
The Suns would come out of the locker room with a sense of urgency as they scored forty-seven points in the second half, twenty-seven in the fourth quarter. Rookie Elie Okobo dropped nine points while hitting a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. De’Anthony Melton scored seven points off the bench while both Josh Jackson and Richaun Holmes had six points each.
The Trail Blazers would make sure to keep fighting as Zach Collins scored ten points in the eighteen minutes he played off the bench. Evan Turner had six points off the bench while Lillard was limited to four points but his play wasn’t really needed for the rest of the game as the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Phoenix Suns a 108-86 loss, tying their longest losing streak this season at seven games. Damian Lillard finished the contest with twenty-five points, five rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and one block while Troy Daniels had a season-high fifteen points, along with three rebounds, and one assist.
The Phoenix Suns will host Josh Richardson (19.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.3 APG, 41.1 FG%, 39.9 3P%) and the Miami Heat (9-14) tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. This will mark the first of two meetings between these two teams this season. Last season, the Miami Heat swept the Suns in their regular-season series, 2-0.
The Portland Trail Blazers will host Karl-Anthony Towns (21.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 49.1 FG%, 41.2 3P%) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12) on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. This will be the third of four times that these two teams will battle each other during this season. The last time the Trail Blazers and the Timberwolves saw each other was on November 16 when the Timberwolves defeated the Trail Blazers, 112-96. Andrew Wiggins finished that game with twenty-three points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block while C.J. McCollum had eighteen points, one rebound, two assists, and one steal.