Phoenix Suns (1-2) v Portland Trail Blazers (3-1)
Wednesday 10/10/2017 7pm
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Arizona Sports 98.7FM/RISE Network
2016-17 Season Series – Portland won 3-1
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 120-99
Last Matchup – Suns won 114-112
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Utah Jazz 120-102
Blazers’ Last Game – Win over the Sacramento Kings 97-83
2016-17 Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.7 (9th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.3 (30th of 30)
2016-17 Jazz’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 100.7 (28th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 96.8 (1st of 30)
The Suns have had a shaky preseason and have not looked like a team that is much improved over last year’s incarnation, as of yet. Falling to 1-2 following their second loss to the Utah Jazz, Phoenix remains at home for the second game of a three-game preseason ending stretch, facing the Portland Trail Blazers, whom they faced in their opening matchup, and defeated.
Against Utah on Monday evening, the Suns fell behind 16 seconds into the game after a Devin Booker turnover led to a Ricky Rubio layup, and would be as far behind as 30 points in the third quarter, never once holding the lead, and never really putting up much of a fight. It’s not surprising though as 32 turnovers will take the fun and competition out of the game. The Suns not only turned the ball over nearly once a minute, but gave up almost exactly a point a minute on points off of turnovers in the game alone.
Phoenix only faces two NBA teams during their short five game preseason, and finishes their NBA portion of their schedule with their bout at home against the Blazers. The Suns won the first matchup, although it was on the backs of the bench that actually pulled the game out.
Down big for the majority of the game, Marquese Chriss, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Josh Jackson, and Derrick Jones Jr. each finished with a negative +/- and a combined -58 from those five alone. However, once they were sat in the third quarter for the remainder of the game in favor of some of the bench guys, Troy Daniels, Alex Len, Mike James, and T.J. Warren dug the team out of the rut and used a 41-27 fourth quarter to steal a two-point victory.
With the least preseason game on Friday the 13th versus the Brisbane Bullets, it will be interesting to see if Head Coach Earl Watson employs a mostly regular season lineup and rotation in this one against Portland.
1. So far, the Suns average 26.0 turnovers per game in the preseason which, because of the European, Chinese, and Australian teams playing NBA teams, makes them 34th out of 35 total teams in turnover per game average. Only the Shanghai Sharks have a worse turnover average at 30.0.
2. Phoenix is averaging 18.5 assists per game so far, 1.1 less than they averaged last season which placed them 29th overall. They are 26th in the NBA in the preseason.
3. On a seriously bright spot though: the Phoenix Suns are second in the league in 3-point percentage so far shooting 42.6% thanks in part to Troy Daniels who is 12-19 in three games. This would be a magnificent turnaround for their offense if it held true to form over the regular season as they were 27th in the league and averaged a chilly 33.2%.
Portland Trail Blazers
1. The Portland Trail Blazers are fifth in preseason teams in scoring per game at 112.0 which is 10.5 more points per game than the Suns who are 15th overall, averaging 101.5.
2. While the Suns are second in 3-point shooting percentage, the Blazers are fourth overall at 42.4%, only .2% behind Phoenix.
3. The Blazers average the 10th fewest turnovers in the preseason with 16.7, although with the foreign teams ahead of them, they are 7th among NBA teams.