Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Preview and Pick
NBA Basketball Betting Preview
Portland Trail Blazers (42-28) at Phoenix Suns (43-26)
Sunday March 21st, 10:30PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Phoenix -6.5, 208.5 O/U
The Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns will collide at the US Airways Center for the 3rd meeting of the season Sunday night. The Suns have been really hot on the offensive side of the court in recent weeks which was highlighted by a massive 152 point blowout over Minnesota earlier in the week. Phoenix is on an impressive 11-3 SU run in their last 14 games and an equally impressive 11-3 run against the spread in that same 14 game stretch. However, Phoenix has dropped both previous meetings with the Trail Blazers this season including a 108-101 loss at home back in early February.
To make matters worse, Portland has also been playing very well in recent weeks. The Trail Blazers are winners of 5 straight and 8 of their last 9 games. Portland has gotten the job done on the defensive side of the court holding opponents to just 91 points over the last 10 games. In fact, the Trail Blazers are coming off a solid win over the Wizards on Friday 76-74 in one of the lowest totals of the season in the NBA. Portland held the Wizards to just 39% shooting from the floor which is nothing new as they have consistently held teams under the century mark over the last few weeks. Portland is perhaps playing some of the best defense in the league right now and actually rank 3rd in points allowed per game holding teams to just 94 points each game. However, the Trail Blazers defensive tactics will face a major test against the Suns fast paced and high scoring offense on Sunday.
Phoenix is rolling into the contest fresh off a strong 110-100 victory over the Jazz on Friday. Amare Stoudemire posted an outstanding performance with a season high 44 points including 16 for 18 shooting from the field. Stoudemire has been nothing shy of dominant in recent weeks averaging over 30 points per game in the last 8 outings. Point guard Steve Nash has not put up any huge point totals as of late, but has consistently eat up the stat sheet each night. Nash has 3 straight double-doubles and it would not surprise me if he makes that 4 on Sunday. However, the Suns need more help outside of Stoudemire on the offensive end in Sunday night’s battle. Shooting guard Jason Richardson is the most likely candidate to step-up and take on that role. Richardson is averaging just less than 20 points per game over the last 5 outings. When Richardson shoots well he gives Phoenix a huge lift to go along with the rest of the Suns roster. To show just how much of a boost that is, the Suns are an incredible 23-4 SU this season when Richardson scores 20 or more points.
Of course as stated before, Portland will throw plenty of defensive schemes at Phoenix to try to prevent any of their stars from posting big numbers. However to be brutally honest, the Trail Blazers must shoot much better from the floor than they did against the Wizards on Friday. Portland shot just 32% from the floor in the low scoring contest and that can not happen again if they plan on making it 3 in a row over Phoenix this year. Leading scorer Brandon Roy who averages 22.2 points on the year was held to just 14 points against the Wizards on Friday. Roy posted a season-high 41 points just over a week ago against Golden State, but has shot just 29% over the last two games. Both LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Olden have consistently posted double figures. However, those double figures have not included any really high scoring totals either. Still, in the recent meetings Portland has performed very well as a team. The Trail Blazers starters combined for 82 points against the Suns in the last meeting which is simply remarkable. If there are any collective efforts like that again, they should have a good shot at keeping their winning streak alive.
Pick – I really like Phoenix to win the game but was little surprised that they were giving up 6.5 points despite losing the last two meetings. However, I do believe the total is posted a bit too high. All of the Suns recent high scoring totals have been against weaker defensive teams and offenses that like to run the court. Portland really slows the tempo down and if they continue to show shooting troubles the under looks like a really strong play.
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