NBA Friday: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
This game carries major implications for the fate of the Western Conference playoffs. The Phoenix Suns are tied for the eighth spot in the West, but would fall out of the playoffs if it started today due to tiebreakers. Portland is one game behind Houston for the fourth seed in the West.
Portland has won its past four contests, after having lost three straight prior to that. The wins were not over juggernauts, but Memphis is a borderline playoff team and the Bulls and Hawks are both in the East’s JV-version of the NBA playoffs. The 124-112 victory over the Lakers Tuesday (Apr 1) night came despite 40 points from the Lakers’ Nick Young.
Portland remains a team reliant on its starters to a fault. Four of the five starters play 34 minutes or more, and Mo Williams is really the only Blazer off the bench to sport any production to speak of (9.7 points per game). The defense has been suspect all season, and it’s still improved over last season. The Blazers surrender 102.7 points per game, and while it has been a dominant team on the glass and very efficient offensively, questions persist as to whether the team can contend when “playoff basketball” is played and possessions become more scarce and valuable.
Phoenix has a tough path to reach the playoffs. Following tonight’s contests, the Suns will face Oklahoma City, Anthony Davis (Okay, the Pelicans), the Spurs, the Mavericks, Memphis and lowly Sacramento to close out the season.
While the Suns have had an unexpected run this season, to edge out the Grizzlies it will likely need to win at least five of those seven contests, and that seems improbable. Even so, the Suns are owed a lot of draft picks in upcoming drafts and well under the cap. Decisions will have to be made regarding the future of Eric Bledsoe (Is he worth a big contract with known knee issues?), but the future is very bright in Phoenix.
PHO Trends: OVER 3-0-1 in last 4 vs teams with winning percentage above .600; UNDER 8-1 in last 9 vs teams with winning SU records; UNDER 5-1 in last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.
POR Trends: 4-0 ATS in last 4 overall; 4-0 ATS in last 4 games vs a team with a winning SU record; 0-5 ATS in last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
Head-to-head: Suns 7-0 ATS in last 7 meetings; UNDER 7-2 in last 9 meetings in Portland.