Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 13: Robert Covington #33 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots the ball during a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns on October 13, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Trail Blazers Game Notes: Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers

PHOENIX SUNS vs. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 
Saturday, October 23, 7:00 p.m. (Pacific)
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

SERIES HISTORY

ALL TIME: Suns lead, 108-125
PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 72-44
PHOENIX HOME: Suns lead, 81-36
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 121-105, 3/10/20 (Portland)
LAST PHOENIX WIN: 118-117, 5/13/21 (Phoenix)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: Three (Phoenix)

SERIES NOTES

• Saturday's game is the first of four contests between the Trail Blazers and the Suns this season.

LAST SEASON: Phoenix won the season series against Portland in 2020-21, 3-0.

• Damian Lillard averaged 31.7 points (55.6% FG, 32.0% 3-PT, 89.5% FT), 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in three games (all starts) against Phoenix in 2020-21. He has scored at least 24 points and dished out at least five assists in each of his last seven games against the Suns.

• CJ McCollum played in one game against Phoenix in 2020-21, finishing with 27 points (11-19 FG, 5-9 3-PT), one rebound and six assists on May 13.

• In three games against the Suns last season, Robert Covington averaged 11.7 points (48.0% FG, 52.9% 3-PT), 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.67 steals and 1.00 block.

• Norman Powell played in two games against the Suns last season, averaging 12.5 points (37.5% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 90.0% FT), 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.50 steals.

• In three games against Portland in 2020-21, Devin Booker averaged 29.0 points (52.7% FG, 45.5% 3-PT, 100% FT), 4.7 re- bounds and 4.7 assists.

• Chris Paul played in three games against the Trail Blazers in 2020-21, averaging 15.7 points (50.0% FG, 57.1% 3-PT, 100% FT), 2.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists.

CONNECTION: Suns head coach Monty Williams was an assistant coach for the Trail Blazers from 2005-2010.

CONNECTION: Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard won a gold medal at the 2021 Olympics with Phoenix guard Devin Booker and Phoenix center JaVale McGee as teammates.

NEWS AND NOTES

LEADING THE WAY: The Trail Blazers hired Chauncey Billups as the 15th head coach in franchise history on June 27, 2021. Billups is making his debut as a head coach in the 2021-22 season. He spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach for the LA Clippers, helping lead the team to a 47-25 record and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.

NBA 75th ANNIVERSARY TEAM: Damian Lillard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team on Oct. 21. He joins former Trail Blazers Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Carmelo Anthony, and Lenny Wilkens on the list.

TOP 100 SCORER: With his 13th point against the Kings on Oct. 20, Damian Lillard moved past Elton Brand for 100th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Lillard has played the fewest games of anyone on the list (683).

CJ SCORING: CJ McCollum scored the 10,000th point of his career on Oct. 20 against the Kings. He is the eighth player in team history with 10,000 points. With his final basket of the night, McCollum passed Jim Paxson for seventh on the franchise scoring list.

NEW IN TOWN: During the 2021 offseason, the Trail Blazers added Tony Snell, Dennis Smith Jr., Ben McLemore, Trendon Watford and Cody Zeller via free agency, Larry Nance Jr. via trade and Greg Brown III via the 2021 NBA draft. McLemore (53.0%), Snell (54.4%) and Zeller (58.5%) have all started over half of their career games since being drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, while Nance has started 123 of his 350 career games (35.1%).

RETURNING PLAYERS: The Trail Blazers are returning nine players from their 2021 Playoff roster. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, CJ Elleby and Keljin Blevins combined to play 58.1% of Portland's regular season minutes during the 2020-21 season.

DISRUPTIVE FRONTCOURT: Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic are two of the five NBA players that have averaged at least 1.00 steal and 1.00 block in each of the last two seasons. Covington is one of three players (A. Davis/A. Drummond) that have done so each of the past three seasons. Joining the Portland pair this season is forward Larry Nance Jr., who has averaged at least 1.00 steal in each of the last five seasons.

CONSISTENT EXCELLENCE: Damian Lillard scored 19 points (6-8 FG, 5-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT) against the Warriors in Portland's first preseason game on Oct. 4. Lillard is one of two players (L. James) who has averaged at least 25.0 points in each of the last six seasons.

RIGHT BACK AT IT: Damian Lillard (19 points, 5-7 3-PT), CJ McCollum (12 points, 2-4 3-PT) and Norman Powell (13 points, 2-5 3-PT) each played 18 minutes or less against Golden State on Oct. 4, but were back in their 2020-21 form. The trio are three of the 12 players that averaged at least 18.0 points and 2.5 three-pointers in 2020-21 while shooting better than 39.0% from the three-point-line.

BACKCOURT BUCKETS: Anfernee Simons scored 24 points (8-20 FG, 1-9 3-PT, 7-7 FT) against the Kings on Oct. 11. He has topped 24 points three times in a regular season game in his career. His career high for free throws is four (seven times). Off the bench, Dennis Smith Jr. pitched in 18 points and seven assists in 26 minutes.

MANNING THE MIDDLE: Jusuf Nurkic logged a double-double of 15 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 3-4 FT) and 10 rebounds to go with four assists against the Warriors on Oct. 11. His two three-pointers were the most he has made in a game in his career (preseason, regular season and postseason).

LAST FIVE GAMES

Game #1 - Sacramento 124, Portland 121 — October 20, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers lost their season-opener to the Kings, 124-121, at Moda Center ... Portland trailed by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter before narrowing the gap to one point with 11.1 seconds remaining in the game ... The Trail Blazers outrebounded Sacramento, 49-43, and outscored the Kings in the paint, 58-46 ... CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 34 points (14-24 FG, 6-11 3-PT) to go with six rebounds, five assists and three steals ... McCollum scored the 10,000th point of his career with a three-pointer at the 9:27 mark of the fourth quarter ... Damian Lillard had 20 points (8-24 FG, 0-9 3-PT, 4-5 FT), six rebounds and 11 assists in 40 minutes ... With his 13th point (5:34 3rd quarter), Lillard moved past Elton Brand for 100th on the all-time NBA scoring list ... Harrison Barnes led the Kings with a career-high 36 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists.

Preseason Game #4 - Golden State 119, Portland 97 — October 15, 2021, Chase Center, San Francisco

The Trail Blazers lost their preseason finale to the Warriors, 119-97, at Chase Center ... The Warriors outscored Portland, 43-26, in the third quarter to break the game open ... CJ McCollum scored 26 points (11-22 FG, 4-11 3-PT) to go with one rebound, four assists and two steals for the Trail Blazers ... Jusuf Nurkic recorded a double-double of 11 points (4-13 FG, 3-3 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks ... Norman Powell scored 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting (2-6 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with five rebounds ... Robert Covington had 10 points, five rebounds, one steal and three blocks in 28 minutes ... CJ Elleby led the Portland bench with nine points (4-9 FG, 1-5 3-PT) ... Stephen Curry had a game-high 41 points (13-23 FG, 7-14 3-PT, 8-10 FT) to go with nine rebounds and two assists for the Warriors ... Jordan Poole chipped in 16 points, three rebounds and one assist.

Preseason Game #3 - Phoenix 119, Portland 74 — October 13, 2021, Footprint Center, Phoenix

Portland fell to 0-3 on the preseason with a 119-74 road loss to the Suns in Phoenix ... The Trail Blazers were held to 29.8% shooting from the field and 15.4% shooting from the three-point-line ... Damian Lillard led the way for Portland with 12 points (5-11 FG, 1-6 3-PT, 1-2 FT) to go with two rebounds and two assists ... Jusuf Nurkic had a game-high 13 rebounds to go with eight points and two steals ... Robert Covington scored 10 points and added six rebounds and three steals ... CJ McCollum had 10 points and four assists ... Dennis Smith Jr. had nine points to lead the Portland reserves, including seven free throws (of 10) ... Devin Booker paced the Suns with 17 points (6-10 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with three rebounds and one assist ... Deandre Ayton had eight points and 11 rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

Preseason Game #2 - Sacramento 107, Portland 93 — October 11, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers lost their second consecutive preseason game, 107-93, to Sacramento at Moda Center ... Portland was without eight rotation players ... Anfernee Simons led the way for Portland in his first start of the preseason, finishing with 24 points (8-20 FG, 1-9 3-PT, 7-7 FT), two rebounds, one assist and one block ... Dennis Smith Jr. came off the bench to add 18 points (7-9 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 2-3 FT), two rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes ... Marquese Chriss added 10 points and four rebounds ... Greg Brown III led the Trail Blazers with nine rebounds while scoring six points in 20 minutes ... Jusuf Nurkic had five points, eight rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes of action ... Sacramento was led by Davion Mitchell, who finished with 20 points (7-12 FG, 6-9 3-PT), two rebounds and four assists ... Portland turned the ball over 27 times to Sacramento's 13 turnovers.

Preseason Game #1 - Golden State 121, Portland 107 — October 4, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers dropped their first game of the 2021 Preseason, 121-107, to Golden State at Moda Center ... Damian Lillard led the way for Portland in 18 first half minutes, finishing with 19 points (6-8 FG, 5-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds and two assists ... Jusuf Nurkic logged a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists and one steal ... Nurkic connected on two three-pointers (of four) ... Anfernee Simons had 10 points and six assists with no turnovers in 20 minutes off the bench ... Norman Powell scored 13 points (5-10 FG, 2-5 3-PT, 1-1 FT) to go with one rebound, one assist and one steal ... CJ McCollum had 12 points in 12 minutes ... Jordan Poole led the way for the Warriors, scoring 30 points (10- 17 FG, 7-13 3-PT, 3-3 FT) to go with five rebounds and five assists ... Stephen Curry had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes.

INJURY NOTES

For the Trail Blazers, Tony Snell (right foot sprain) is out for Saturday’s game versus Sacramento.

The Suns have not yet released their injury report for Saturday’s game.

BROADCAST NOTES

Saturday’s game can be seen locally on ROOT Sports with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. On the radio side, Travis Demers, Michael Holton and Jay Allen will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.

ARENA NOTES

The Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter are requiring all guests ages 12 and up attending any event at the Rose Quarter, including Winterhawks games, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of either a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event or a negative lab-based rapid test taken within 48 hours of the event. At-home tests will not be accepted.

Kids under age 12 can come to events without proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test unless sitting within 15 feet of the court and benches at a Trail Blazers game. All guests must wear a mask at all times while on the Rose Quarter campus.

Click here for more information on Moda Center’s health and safety protocols.

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