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It’s a battle of a pair of struggling teams from the Western Conference up in the Pacific Northwest. The Phoenix Suns are on the road as they travel to face the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night. Phoenix was dropped 122-105 at home by Sacramento in their last game Tuesday night. Portland was dropped 111-102 on the road by the Mavericks Tuesday night in their last contest. The Suns own a 120-103 edge in the all-time regular-season series but the Trail Blazers have won the last seven meetings, including all four last season. In the most recent matchup, Portland took a 106-104 win on the road on February 24.
Phoenix Suns Continue to Struggle
Phoenix dropped their sixth straight game as the Kings ran past them Tuesday night. The Suns now drag their 1-11 road record with them to the Pacific Northwest looking to try and get back in the win column. Phoenix was dusted early in the game as they were outscored 36-9 in the opening quarter: that set the tone. The Suns saw the deficit go to 27 at the half and 31 after three quarters before closing the gap in garbage time. Phoenix shot 43.7 percent from the field and went 12 for 43 from three-point range while turning the ball over 21 times. De’Anthony Melton led the Suns with 21 points plus five assists in the loss. Phoenix is 3-9 ATS on the road this season while the over is 6-6 in those games.
Melton is having a good night! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zOenuFkZ9Z
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 5, 2018
The Suns are 28th in the league in scoring with an average of 103 points per game. The Suns are 29th on the glass by collecting 39.9 boards per game. Phoenix stands 18th in the league in assists with 23.5 per contest. Phoenix is 25th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114 points a night. Devin Booker leads the team with 23.5 points and 6.7 assists per game. Rookie Deandre Ayton is contributing 16 points plus 10.2 rebounds a night while TJ Warren chips in 17.7 points per game. Trevor Ariza (10 points, 5.5 boards), Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Isaiah Canaan, Jamal Crawford and Elie Okobo are important pieces of the rotation for the Suns if they hope to have success. The Suns are 18th in the league in field goal percentage at 45.6 percent so far. The Suns are tied for 20th in three pointers per game with 10.3 per contest. Phoenix is 26th in three-point percentage as they splash 33.5 percent of their chances from long range. Warren (ankle) missed the last three games and Booker missed the Sacramento game with a hamstring issue. Warren is questionable while Booker is out here: that would take their top two scoring options out of the picture if they couldn’t go.
Portland Trail Blazers Trying to Reverse Struggles
Portland suffered their third straight loss as they were knocked off by the Mavericks at home Tuesday night. That marked the Trail Blazers’ eighth loss in their last 11 games after a 10-3 start to the season. Portland trailed by 14 after the opening quarter and by 15 at the half: they couldn’t make a serious run in the second half. The Trail Blazers drew no closer than seven in the second half and that came in the closing minutes. Portland shot 45.2 percent from the field and went seven of 24 from beyond the arc while turning the ball over 18 times in the game. Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Portland is 7-5 ATS at home this season while the over is 6-6 in those games.
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 5, 2018
The Trail Blazers come into this one 10th in the league in scoring with 112.5 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 2nd in the league in rebounding as they collect 49.1 boards a night. Portland is 28th in the league in assists with 20.7 per contest. The Trail Blazers are below average defensively as they come in 20th in the league by allowing 111.7 points a night. Damian Lillard is leading the team in scoring for the Blazers as he puts up 27.3 points per game while dishing out 6.3 assists per contest. CJ McCollum (21.3 points) and Maurice Harkless are both veteran options for the Blazers. Al-Farouq Aminu (9.2 points, 8.2 rebounds), Jusuf Nurkic (15 points, 10.4 rebounds), Meyers Leonard, Nik Stauskas and Evan Turner (8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds) all contribute solidly on the offensive end for Portland’s attack. Zach Collins, Seth Curry, Jake Layman and Caleb Swanigan have to take a step forward this season. Portland is tied for 16th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers are knocking down 11.3 three-pointers a night, which is tied for 9th in the league while ranking 12th in the league by shooting 35.6 percent from downtown. Swanigan (personal) is questionable here after missing two straight games. McCollum is questionable with an ankle sprain, which would hurt their perimeter shooting.
- Trail Blazers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games
- Trail Blazers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- Suns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Western Conference foes
- Suns are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
- Suns are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 day of rest
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Portland is in a tailspin with eight losses in their last 11 games but the fact remains that they have the talent to beat most teams. The Trail Blazers have a solid triumvirate in Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic. If the role players start contributing, Portland could go on a run to get back in the mix. Phoenix is awful and being minus Warren and Booker really hampers their offense. The Suns don’t have the pieces to keep up at this point: give the points and take the Trail Blazers in this contest.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers -14
Full-Game Total Pick
Phoenix is by far the worst team in the Western Conference. While everyone else is within two games of the .500 mark, the Suns are just 4-20 on the year coming into this one. Phoenix has been clobbered repeatedly and they continue to struggle to shut down opposing teams. With Warren questionable and Booker out for this contest, the Suns are going to be scrambling for offense. Portland is struggling right now but they still have one of the most talented backcourts in the league. Can the Trail Blazers find a way to stop their recent slide?
The under is 5-1 in the Suns’ last 6 games following a straight up loss, 5-1 in their last 6 games following an ATS loss, 4-1 in their last five overall, 4-1 in their last five on Thursday and 4-1 in their last five against Western Conference teams. Portland has seen the under go 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 6-2 in their last eight at home. The Suns simply don’t score much and that keeps this one under the total regardless of what Portland does.
Prediction: Under 216.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
With Booker out and Warren questionable here, the conventional thought process is that the Suns should feed the ball to Ayton and let him try to get points. The problem for Phoenix is, the rest of the league knows that strategy as well. Ayton may well turn into a star center but he’s still raw at this point and facing veteran big men like Nurkic and Leonard will be a challenge. In his last four games, he’s scored four, 19, 10 and 10 points. It’s hard to expect more than 12 or so out of him right now without a viable perimeter option to force defenses to go out and play to the three point line.
Prediction: Deandre Ayton Under 15.5 Points (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
The Trail Blazers have been leaky on the defensive end of the floor of late, which is a major reason that they have lost eight of their last 11 games. Portland has to be better on that end of the floor here. Fortunately, the Trail Blazers face a Phoenix team that seemingly is allergic to putting the ball in the basket. After all, the Suns had just nine points in the opening quarter against Sacramento en route to what was a one-sided defeat. Phoenix doesn’t have the tools to keep up with Portland, especially with Booker missing. The Trail Blazers have the edge at the half.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers -8
Half-Time Total Bet
The Suns are just 1-11 on the road this season and their ATS mark (3-9) as the visiting team isn’t a whole lot better. Throw in that Booker is going to miss the game and Warren is questionable here and you have a tough time wondering where the Suns are going to get points from. Portland is going to have McCollum as a likely game-time decision: if he can’t go, they’ll be missing their second-leading scorer here. Whether he plays or not, this one ends up under the total at the half because Phoenix simply didn’t score enough.
Prediction: Under 109.5
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Let’s be honest: the Suns have been a dismal offense even when their top two scorers are on the floor. Without Warren and Booker, you’re losing nearly 40 percent of your offensive production and there’s not much in the way to replace it. Sure, Phoenix got to 105 points in the loss to Sacramento, but that’s because the Kings played soft in the fourth already up 32. The Suns scored 38 fourth quarter points: by comparison, they had 40 in the first half. Look for Phoenix to fall under the number at halftime.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns Under 50.5 (-115)