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Portland Trail Blazers (3-10) at Phoenix Suns (7-6) Game Preview: Ayton Returns to Phoenix

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The Phoenix Suns (7-6) and Portland Trail Blazers (3-10) meet tonight at Footprint Center in Deandre Ayton’s return to Phoenix and the Suns’ third NBA In-Season Tournament game. The Suns have won three straight since the return of Devin Booker, while the Blazers have dropped seven straight and are dealing with massive injury problems. This is a must win for the Suns due to them being behind the Lakers and Jazz in the In-Season Tournament standings.

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Local Game Information

Start Time: 7 p.m. MST

Location: Footprint Center

TV Channel: 3TV/AZ Family

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, La Mejor 106.5 FM

Stream: Suns Live (click for more info)

Betting Odds

Line: PHX -13.5

O/U: 223.5

Suns soar as huge favorites in key matchup against struggling Trail Blazers

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns: Bradley Beal (low back strain) OUT | Jordan Goodwin (jaw contusion) AVAILABLE | Damion Lee (right meniscus surgery) OUT | Yuta Watanabe (left quad contusion) OUT

Portland Trail Blazers: Malcolm Brogdon (left hamstring sprain) QUESTIONABLE | Scoot Henderson (right ankle sprain) OUT | Anfernee Simons (right thumb ligament tear) OUT | Former Sun Ish Wainright (left knee MCL sprain) OUT | Robert Williams III (right knee ligament tear) OUT

Starters (Projected)

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Eric Gordon, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Portland Trail Blazers: Skylar Mays, Shaedon Sharpe, Toumani Camara, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton

NBA In-Season Tournament Standings (western Conference)

Last Time Out

The Phoenix Suns (7-6) beat the Utah Jazz (4-9) 140-137 in a double overtime thriller Sunday night, as Kevin Durant continued to cement his greatness. In a rematch of Friday’s Suns’ victory, Durant finished with his franchise record 12th consecutive game with at least 25 points, dropping 39 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in 46 minutes. He also had a clutch block on Lauri Markkanen to end the game. Markkanen finished with 38 points and 17 rebounds of his own as him and KD duked it out all night, in a game where both teams shot the ball over 100 times. Utah had 27 offensive rebounds to keep them in this the entire game and never allow the Suns to pull away. There were some good individual performances by the Suns, specifically Eric Gordon (20 points) who came up clutch in OT and Jusuf Nurkić (18 points and 12 rebounds) dropping a double double. Devin Booker only shot 8-of-21 from the floor, but finished with 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (10-4) blew out the Portland Trail Blazers (3-10) 134-91 Sunday night, despite being on the second night of a back to back. This game was so bad that the Thunder’s starters did not play after the five-minute mark in the third quarter. Oklahoma City shot over 60% from the floor and three-point range, while connecting on all 14 free throws. Jerami Grant led the shorthanded Blazers, who were missing everyone that is out tonight, with 14 points. Portland now averages the fewest points per game in the entire NBA at 102.9.

Flashback: Last Meeting (Nov. 17, 2023)

Suns Vs. Trail Blazers – Game Recap

Also met twice in preseason (see below)

Suns Grab Another Preseason Win, Moving Their Record to 3-1

Suns Starters Shine In 122-111 Win Over Portland

Team Matchup Notes

Here are some stats, notes and everything else to know about the Suns and Blazers before their first matchup of the year (via Suns)

Each team’s stats (via Suns and Blazers):

Five Keys to Game for Suns

  1. Don’t overlook the opponent
  2. Crash the glass
  3. Let KD and Booker cook again
  4. Try to win by as much as you can because it’s important for In-Season Tournament
  5. Limit turnovers

PREVIEW: Deandre Ayton Returns to Phoenix

Suns Get Ready to Take on Former Teammates in Back-to-Back Games

Comparing Jusuf Nurkic to Deandre Ayton this season

PREVIEW: Devin Booker and Kevin Durant Leading Suns to Record-Breaking Success

Devin Booker and KD propel Suns to record-breaking success in the regular season

PREVIEW: Injury Report

Phoenix Suns Injury Report for Tomorrow’s Game vs. Blazers

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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