NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, November 21st
(All times eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (5-5) at Phoenix Suns (4-7), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers will look to extend their
winning streak on Wednesday night when they head to Phoenix to take on the
Portland has won three in a row, highlighted by a 102-94 victory Sunday at
home against the Chicago Bulls. In that win, and, in almost any Trail Blazers'
win, the starting five did the heavy lifting.
The first group scored all but 16 of Portland's points, led by 21 a piece from
Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews. LaMarcus Aldridge, who is ninth in the NBA
in scoring, had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
During this three-game run, the Trail Blazers have exceeded the 100-point
plateau in all three and held the opposition, on average, under the century
The winning streak came at an important time. Portland had dropped four in a
row before last Monday's road win against the Sacramento Kings jump-started
the Blazers back to even on the record book.
"I think it's good for us. We won the last three games and we needed to," said
rookie point guard Damian Lillard. "We dropped three at home and it was
important for us to try to get back to .500 with three winnable games. Now we
have to try to go get another one on the road."
This one on the road will be tough. Portland hasn't won in Phoenix in their
last three tries, but the Suns have struggled of late. They have lost three in
a row and four of their last five, including home losses to the defending
champion Heat and the Bulls.
The Suns just dig themselves serious holes night in and night out. They've
trailed by double digits in 10 of their 11 games and all six at home.
Head coach Alvin Gentry suggested some lineup changes might be due.
"We can't keep playing like this," said Gentry, whose Suns are the worst
defensive team in the NBA. "We have to make some adjustment. I think we tried
to make sure we didn't make any rash decisions or any snap judgments, and
after looking at this and seeing what's happened over the last four or five
games it's time for us to do something."
The Suns fought the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade on Saturday, tough, but
Miami opened the game on a 9-0 run.
"After that it's tough, and the same thing in the third quarter," said Goran
Dragic, who, along with Chris Paul and Brandon Jennings are the only players
in the league averaging better than 16.0 points, 7.0 assists and 2.0 steals.
"You know, when we fix that, the not falling behind so many points, then it's
going to be much easier for us, and we are going to have more chances to win
The Suns may have won the last three battles between these two teams in
Phoenix, but Portland has won eight of the last 12 times these squads have
11/21 10:43:47 ET