Suns and Blazers Clash for Final Time This Season

Oct 7, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots around Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots around Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) in the second half at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (22-54) v Portland Trailblazers (37-38)

Saturday 4/1/2017 7pm
Moda Center, Portland, OR
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Portland leads 2-1
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 120-98
Last Matchup – March 12, 2017 Portland won 110-101
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Los Angeles Clippers 124-118
Blazers’ Last Game –Win over the Houston Rockets 117-107
Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.1 (10th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 112.9 (30th of 30)
Blazers’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 108.3 (7th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 109.0 (26th of 30)


With their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the tanking Phoenix Suns have finally reached a double-digit losing streak. Granted this might not seem like (or is at all) an accomplishment given the fact the P.J. Tucker was traded, Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler, and Brandon Knight have each been benched, and rookie Dragan Bender has been out with minor ankle surgery (could he return tonight vs the Blazers?), but the fact remains that as a generally bad team all season, prior to the outright tanking that began at the All-Star break, Phoenix’s longest losing streak this season was a meager five games.

However, the team does seem to have been coming into their own recently and the roster that Earl Watson is allowed to play with has been playing more competitively of late. Without Devin Booker against Atlanta the Suns only lost by four. Then with Booker against the much stronger L.A. Clippers, the Suns hung in with their opponent and gave the Clippers a scare all the way into the fourth quarter before a lack of depth finally did the Suns in. Prior to the Atlanta game, not only did it seem like they would lose out the rest of the way, but they would be blown out in every outing. Now it seems entirely plausible that they could sneak out at least one victory (maybe against Portland, maybe against Sacramento) by season’s end. Not a guarantee of any sort, but a plausibility nonetheless. For the Official Valley of the Suns wrap up of the Suns v Clippers game, with an impressive list of season and career-highs that you were likely not aware of, read here.

The Portland Trailblazers are coming off of a huge win over the Houston Rockets two night ago on national television. Getting hot at the absolute right time, the victory was their fifth in a row and helped provide a little more space between themselves and the Denver Nuggets, who are fighting for the last spot in the Western Conference playoff race. With Denver’s loss last night to Charlotte, the Blazers are now two-up on the Nuggets for the final spot in the West, and look to add an extra half a game in the standings with a victory over the Suns.

For the tankers among us, the Blazers are leading the season series against Phoenix 2-1 coming into tonight’s game, the Suns’ only win coming on an Eric Bledsoe buzzer-beater mere seconds after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 109 years. The two teams’ last match up would actually be Eric Bledsoe’s last game of the season, although fans (and possibly Bledsoe) were unaware of it at the time. While Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum tore up the Suns backcourt combining for 65 points, Bledsoe personally hadn’t had that great of a game, scoring 19 on 7-19 shooting, with 6 assists.

Three Interesting Stats

Phoenix Suns

1. For the first time all season (at least since the first couple of weeks), the Suns own the worst defensive points allowed per game average in the league with 112.9, surpassing the Brooklyn Nets who had had a stranglehold on the dubious distinction for most of the season. The Suns and Nets each currently allow 112.9ppg to their opponents, however beyond the tenths decibel, Phoenix leads.

2. The Suns last led the league in points allowed per game in 2004-05, although allowing 103.3 points per game then, suddenly doesn’t sound so bad now.

3. So the Suns obviously have their eyes set on a player or two in this summer’s raft which is why they have been overcome with tanking. Whoever that may draft be remains to be seen. However, the question of if they hadn’t have made any trades or benched anyone, what might their record have been, still  remains. Prior to the trade deadline the Suns were on pace for 26 wins. Prior to benching Eric Bledsoe they were on pace to win 27 games. Presuming they lose out, they are now on pace to win 22.

Portland Trailblazers

More from Valley of the Suns

1. While their regular season record has lessened each of the past three seasons, the Blazers are on pace to earn a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive year. The last time they were in the playoffs for at least four consecutive years was from 1983-2003, a 21-year stretch that fell one playoff appearance shy of the NBA record.

2. The Blazers have not made it out of the second round of the playoff in their past three trips, and should they make it this season they will likely face the Golden State Warriors, continuing that trend. The last time the Blazers made it to at least the Western Conference Finals was 2000, their second season in a row. Those two Conference Finals appearances were sandwiched by six consecutive First Round exits from 1993-1998, then three further early exits from 2001-2003.

3. Comparing the Blazers’ Playoff appearances to the Suns’:

Phoenix: Total Playoff Appearances 29
NBA Finals Wins 0
NBA Finals Appearances 2
Exited Playoffs in Conference Finals 7
Exited Playoffs in Semifinals 9
Exited Playoffs in First Round 11

Portland: Total Playoff Appearances 32
NBA Finals Wins 1
NBA Finals Appearances 3
Exited Playoffs in Conference Finals 3,
Exited Playoffs in Semifinals 5
Exited Playoffs in First Round 21