Coming off back-to-back losses, the Suns know they need a win to stay in the playoff race out West.
The Blazers are in the midst of different fortunes, coming off their fourth win a row.
Will Phoenix steal one on the road? Five things will help answer that question.
The Suns, as of Thursday, were in a three-way tie with Memphis and Dallas with just two playoff between them.
Current tiebreaker stipulations have Phoenix on the outside looking in, so Friday’s game (and every one after that) is vital.
Portland has their own interests at stake. The Blazers are just a game back of Houston for the No. 4 spot in the West. Top-four teams earn home-court advantage in the first round (at least), so they’ll be more than motivated as well.
One of the several factors in Wednesday’s loss was Phoenix’s inability to get their offensive sets going early in the shot clock.
The Clippers would often pressure the passing lanes, making the Suns uncertain and, ultimately, desperate to get a shot off.
Expect Phoenix to be more decisive in getting the offense going this time around.
Phoenix accomplished quite a feat by limiting DeAndre Jordan to just one offensive rebound on Wednesday. Jordan ranks second in the league in that category..
Blazers center and form Suns big man Robin Lopez is just behind Jordan, pulling down 4.0 offensive caroms per contest (third in the league). The Suns will need to box him out as well as they did Jordan earlier this week.
Guarding the Three
Phoenix led for much of Wednesday’s game, but the Clippers’ 11-of-26 showing from three played a big part in L.A.’s comeback.
Portland is even more lethal from distance, ranking first in the league in three-pointers made per game (9.5) and sixth in percentage from beyond the arc (37.3).
The Suns will have to rediscover their stingy perimeter defense, which still ranks second in the league (33.9 percent opponent three-point shooting).
Frye Back on Track?
The veteran forward had hit just two of his previous 14 three-point attempts before Wednesday, when he sank four-of-eight from beyond the arc.
Frye’s success on offense frees the driving lanes for Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. If he can keep it up, Phoenix will have much better odds of logging their third victory over Portland this season.