The Portland Trail Blazers face the Phoenix Suns at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Friday night.
The Blazers are rejuvenated with the return of All-Star point guard Damian Lillard who missed six games with a groin strain. Dame scored 22 points in his return as the Blazers picked up their second consecutive win which pulled them to within 3.5 games of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The Suns meanwhile are fading fast in the team standings. Phoenix has lost four straight games as they have been without Kelly Oubre who underwent knee surgery last Tuesday. Portland won the first meeting of the season 111-110 in Phoenix but the Suns returned the favor with a 122-116 victory in Portland.
The Portland Trail Blazers got a big boost with the return of Damian Lillard from injury as they defeated the Washington Wizards 125-104 for their second straight victory. Lillard sat out the last three weeks and missed six games with a groin strain. Lillard scored 22 points against the Wizards to help Portland move within 3.5 games of the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points to lead the Blazers while Hassan Whiteside recorded his 48th double-double of the season with 24 points and 16 rebounds aside from blocking four shots. C.J. McCollum continued his strong play with 22 points and 5 rebounds for Portland. McCollum averaged 33.3 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in the six games Lillard missed.
The Blazers are ranked 9th in the NBA in scoring at 113.3 points per game. They are 10th in rebounding at 45.6 boards grabbed per contest but are dead-last in passing at 20.0 assists per outing. Portland has the 5th worst scoring defense in the league at 115.3 points per game allowed this season.
Odds from SportsBetting as of 03/06/20
Fourth Straight Defeat
The Phoenix Suns suffered their 4th straight defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The Suns played without Kelly Oubre Jr. who will be out for at least four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Oubre was the third-leading scorer in the team at 18.7 points per game. Phoenix has lost all four games they’ve played without Oubre and their playoff hopes are fading fast.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 22 points and 10 assists while rookie Cameron Johnson scored a career-high 21 points off the bench. DeAndre Ayton posted another double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns. Dario Saric shot 6-8 from the floor and finished with 16 points while Ricky Rubio contributed 16 points and 10 assists.
The Suns are 15th in the league in scoring at 112.0 points per game scored and are the second-best passing team in the league at 27.1 assists per game this season. Phoenix is tied for 23rd in rebounding at 43.0 boards grabbed per contest and are 20th in scoring defense at 113.5 points per game allowed.
The Blazers are 3-6 SU in their last nine games played. Portland is 1-6 SU in their last seven games played on the road. The Suns are 1-4 SU in their last five games played. Phoenix is 1-5 SU in their last six games played at home, and 0-7 SU in their last seven games played in March. Head to head, the Blazers are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games played against the Suns. Portland is also 5-0 SU in their last five road games against Phoenix.
Portland needs to make its move if it still wants to make the playoffs. They only have 19 games left to play and they can’t waste winnable games like this. Damian Lillard is back in action and the Blazers are coming off a game where Whiteside, Melo, and McCollum had big nights.
The Suns have lost four straight games and they are almost out of the playoff race. Phoenix will be without Kelly Oubre’s 17 points per game and that is a big loss against a team like Portland which has plenty of scorers. Ayton is also questionable after leaving their last game with an ankle injury.
The Blazers have more at stake for them and they have their best player back. Portland has the momentum heading to this contest. I expect Lillard to lead his team to victory here with McCollum and Anthony providing the needed offensive support. Phoenix is struggling right now and I think they will feel Oubre’s absence on the offensive end in this game.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers
Other Bets to Make
Portland is 3-6 ATS in their last nine games played. The Blazers are 2-3 ATS in their last five games played on the road, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games played in March. Phoenix is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Suns are 0-6 ATS in their last six games played at home. Head to head, the Suns are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games against the Blazers.
Odds from SportsBettingas of 03/06/20
The Blazers are chasing the 8th seed in the playoffs and have a lot more to play in this game than the Suns. Phoenix is also missing Kelly Oubre who was averaging over 17 points per game this season. On the other side, the Blazers just got back Damian Lillard and Dame showed little to no rust in his first game back after three weeks. I like the Blazers to come out with guns blazing here.
Prediction: Blazers -1
The total has gone over in 14 out of the last 20 games played by the Blazers. The over is 3-2 in Portland’s last five games played on the road, 7-1 in their last eight games against the Western Conference, and 5-0 in their last five outings against a Pacific Division team. The total has gone under in six out of the last nine games played by the Suns. The under is 4-1 in their last five games against the Western Conference. Head to head, the total has gone over in three out of the last four meetings between these two teams.
Odds from SportsBetting as of 03/06/20
Portland has scored 117 or more points in their last three games and with Lillard back, I expect the numbers to continue or to even improve. Phoenix has been inconsistent but they have given up at least 115 points in their last three games. These teams combined to score an average of 235.33 points per game in their last three meetings and including 238 last December 19, 2019. Both have bottom 10 defenses this season.
Prediction: Over 233