NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 13th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (5-2) at Portland Trail Blazers (5-2), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the NBA's best teams meet Wednesday night when the Phoenix Suns visit Rose City and the Moda Center to take on the Portland Trail Blazers.
That's right, the Suns and Blazers are tied for the third-best record in the NBA at the moment. Phoenix leads the Pacific Division and Portland is just a half-game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Northwest Division.
The Suns have won two straight, thanks to a 101-94 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Phoenix is a perfect 4-0 at home and their two losses, while both on the road, came at the hands of the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. The Suns were in both of those games, too.
Defense is at the heart of the turnaround in Phoenix. The Suns are fifth in the NBA in opponents' scoring, holding teams to 96.0 ppg. They are sixth in opponents' field-goal percentage.
"You don't want your scoring to dictate how your defense is playing," first- year coach Jeff Hornacek said. "To me, it's opposite. When you're struggling offensively, that's when you should be saying, 'okay, it might not be my night offensively, but I can get after somebody and stop someone on the other end.'"
Against the Pelicans, Eric Bledsoe led the way with 24 points. Markieff Morris, the reigning Player of the Week in the Western Conference, added 23 points off the bench.
Gerald Green and Goran Dragic both scored in double figures and Miles Plumlee pulled down 12 rebounds.
The Blazers have won three straight and are 3-1 at home this season.
On Monday, Portland knocked off the visiting Detroit Pistons, 109-103.
Damian Lillard paced the Blazers with 25 points on 5-for-8 shooting from behind the 3-point line. LaMarcus Aldridge added 12 rebounds and Robin Lopez also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.
Nicolas Batum chipped in 12, Mo Williams had 17 off the bench and Dorell Wright managed 11 for the second unit.
The Blazers will be out for revenge against a Suns team that knocked them off opening night. But, Portland certainly respects what Phoenix has been able to accomplish.
"For a young team, they're really established an identity early," Portland coach Terry Stotts said of Phoenix. "They're young, they play with energy. They're playing very well."
The Suns have won six of the last eight meetings between the two, but are 1-7 in their last eight in Portland.
11/13 10:47:13 ET