Blazers In Phoenix With A Chance To Clinch In Second Game Of A Back-To-Back

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

It took a while longer than usual, but the yearly tradition of the Trail Blazers going on a late-season playoff push seems to have arrived. But despite winning five-straight and nine out of their last 10, they're still are not assured of a spot in the 2021 Playoffs.

That would change with a win tonight in Phoenix.

With two games to play, the Trail Blazers need one win to secure their eighth-straight postseason berth, which they’ll try to get when they face the Suns in a nationally-televised contest Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

SERIES HISTORY

ALL TIME: Suns lead, 124-108
PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 72-45
PHOENIX HOME: Suns lead, 79-36
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 121-105, 3/10/20 (Portland)
LAST PHOENIX WIN: 127-121, 3/11/21 (Portland)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: Two (Phoenix)

SERIES NOTES

• The Trail Blazers May 13 game against the Suns will be the third and final matchup between Portland and Phoenix in 2020-21. Phoenix leads the season series, 2-0.

HISTORIC SHOOTING: Phoenix and Portland are second and third in the league in terms of FT%, at 83.1% and 82.3% respectively. Not only are both teams on pace to set franchise records for a season, but the Sun's current percentage would be the fourth-highest in a single-season in league history, while Portland's would be the eighth.

LAST GAME: Phoenix won the last meeting between the Trail Blazers and Suns on March 11, 127-121. Damian Lillard led Port- land with 30 points (10-23 FG, 5-12 3-PT, 5-5 FT), seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Devin Booker led Phoenix with 35 points (12-21 FG, 3-5 3-PT, 8-8 FT), five rebounds and eight assists.

• Damian Lillard has averaged 27.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in two games against Phoenix this season. He has scored at least 24 points and handed out at least five assists in each of his last six games against the Suns.

• Enes Kanter logged a double-double against the Suns on March 11, finishing with 16 points (7-10 FG, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds and three assists. Kanter has recorded three or more assists nine times this season.

• Robert Covington added 13 points (5-11 FG, 3-6 3-PT), six rebounds, two assists and two steals on March 11.

• Devin Booker has recorded at least 20 points in each of his last 10 games against the Trail Blazers. Booker has scored 428 career points over 17 games against Portland. If he scores 31 or more points on Thursday, his career point total against Portland will be his highest against any team (458, LAL).

• Chris Paul recorded 19 points (7-15 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 3-3 FT), five rebounds and seven assists against Portland on March 11.

MILESTONE WATCH: Damian Lillard (268 3PM in 2020-21) is three three-pointers from breaking his own franchise record for threes in a season. Lillard made 270 three-pointers in 2019-20.

LAST THREE GAMES

Game #70 - Portland 105, Utah 98 — May 12, 2021, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City

Portland handed Utah its second consecutive loss, taking down the league leading Jazz, 105-98 in Salt Lake City ... Portland lowered their magic number to one win or one Lakers loss to avoid the play in ... Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with his 34th 30+ point game of the season, finishing with 30 points (10-20 FG, 3-9 3-PT, 7-8 FT), two rebounds, six assists and one block ... It was his 34th game of the season with at least 30 points, tied for the second most such games in the league ... CJ McCollum added 26 points (12-22 FG, 2-6 3-PT, four rebounds and four assists ... Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points (7-13 FG, 4-5 3-PT), to go with two rebounds and one assist ... Jusuf Nurkic had 11 points (3-14 FG, 5-8 FT), 15 rebounds, six assists, three steals and four blocks ... He is the second player in the league this season to put up that statline or better (Antetokounmpo) ... Jordan Clarkson led Utah with 29 points (11-17 FG, 3-8 3-PT, 4-5 FT) and three assists.

Game #69 - Portland 140, Houston 129 — May 10, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers set a franchise record with 50 first quarter points, and reached 140 total points for the second time in the last four games, beating the Rockets 140-129 at Moda Center ... Portland tied an NBA record with 12 three-pointers in the first quarter ... Portland had four players score 20+ for the third time this season ... Damian Lillard led Portland with 34 points (11-20 FG, 6-11 3-PT, 6-6 FT), nine rebounds and six assists ... CJ McCollum added 28 points (8-17 FG, 6-10 3-PT, 6-8 FT), three rebounds and seven assists ... Norman Powell scored 28 points (9-17 FG, 3-8 3-PT, 7-9 FT) and had six rebounds and four assists ... Jusuf Nurkic recorded 22 points on 10-of-14 from the field (2-2 FT), six rebounds, five assists and three steals ... Derrick Jones Jr. had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench ... Kelly Olynyk led Houston with 21 points (5-12 FG, 1-2 3-PT, 10-10 FT), eight rebounds and six assists ... D.J. Augustin had a season-high 21 points.

Game #68 - Portland 124, San Antonio 102 — May 8, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers won every quarter, earning a decisive 22-point win over the Spurs Saturday night ... Portland improved to 14-0 when securing a double-digit halftime advantage ... Portland won by double-digits for the sixth time in their last seven wins ... Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points (8-17 FG, 4-9 3-PT, 10-10 FT), four rebounds and eight assists ... CJ McCollum added 27 points (10-21 FG, 4-9 3-PT, 3-4 FT), five rebounds and two assists ... Norman Powell scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, to go with six total rebounds and one assist ... Jusuf Nurkic finished with 17 points (8-15 FG, 1-4 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and one block ... Anfernee Simons had nine points (3-8 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT), six rebounds and one block in 27 minutes off the bench ... DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 20 points (6-15 FG, 8-8 FT), two rebounds, four assists and two steals ... Lonnie Walker added 18 points and a season-high eight boards.

INJURY NOTES

The Trail Blazers, having played Wednesday night, have not yet released their injury report for Thursday’s game. However, Zach Collins (left ankle, stress fracture) is out.

As for the Suns, Cameron Johnson (right wrist; sprain) and Abdel Nader (right knee; arthroscopy) are out.

BROADCAST NOTES

Thursday’s game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest. It will also air nationally on TNT. The game can be heard on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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