NBA Playoff Betting Preview: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns
#6 Portland Trail Blazers
(50-32, 3rd place in Northwest Division)
#3 Phoenix Suns
(54-28, 2nd place in Pacific Division)
Portland Trail Blazers
How They Got Here: If you look at the injury list for this team, you have to wonder how the Blazers keep finding the will to fight. Not only did both big men, C Greg Oden and C Joel Pryzbilla ultimately have their seasons cut short due to injury, but now G Brandon Roy is on the shelf as well. Still, Portland found a way to gut it through the West thanks to some tough-nosed defense that ranked #1 in the West.
Player To Watch: G Andre Miller has to feel a little lonely without Roy in the backcourt with him. Still, Miller has some explosive scoring abilities, as he has averaged 20+ points per game before in his career. He’s only a 44.5 percent shooter from the field and is woeful from downtown (20%), but at 14.0 points per game this year, Miller is the man that is going to have to make the difference for the Blazers to move on.
X-Factor: Averaging 7.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game isn’t anything that is really newsworthy, but C Marcus Camby can go for 30 and 15 on any given day. He’s going to be called upon a lot to keep F Amare Stoudemire in check in the post, and his success is paramount for Portland’s survival.
Key To Victory: Someone is going to have to step up to replace Roy’s scoring. “The Natural” only played in 65 games this year, so the Blazers have figured this out before, but the mess of injuries just can’t wear on this team in a long series if it hopes to make it through. Someone, whether it’s Miller, C LaMarcus Aldridge, or a relative unknown, is going to have to be a superstar in this series.
How They Got Here: If you like fast paced basketball, this is the team for you. The Suns put together 110.2 points on the average night this season, and thanks to some solid ball played down the stretch, they probably got the best seed and the best matchup possible for them.
Player To Watch: C Amare Stoudemire might be the man doing the scoring, but without G Steve Nash, this team is nothing. Nash is the engine that keeps the Phoenix train rolling, and he once again proved how valuable he is by dishing out an NBA high 11.0 assists per game. This isn’t a slacking scorer either, as the Canadian shot 50.7 percent from the floor and 42.6 percent from downtown, averaging 16.5 points per game.
X-Factor: If C Channing Frye is connecting on his three pointers as he did all regular season long, this is going to be a very short series. The former New York Knick has found a great home in Phoenix, as he can now run and exploit his outside abilities to the fullest in this wide open offense. Frye averaged 11.2 points per game this year, and he’ll be a nearly impossible matchup both in the post and from beyond the arc.
Key To Victory: It’s all about tempo for the Suns. The Blazers are going to try their best to keep the pace of this game slow because of their lack of depth and defensive, physical nature. However, the Suns have a way of quickening the game on you without even knowing it, as it feels like they can score in a blink, especially in transition after you miss a shot.
The Final Word: There’s just no way that the Suns are getting bogged down in this series. They just have too much offensive abilities, and even if they only average 105 points per game or so over these next couple of weeks, the Blazers aren’t keeping up with that type of average. Unless the Blazers get some freakish scoring games from unlikely suspects, they’ve basically brought a knife to a gun fight.
Suns in 5
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