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Trail Blazers v. Suns preview

01/26/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Trail Blazers will seek a complete turnaround against the Phoenix Suns Friday, 7 p.m., at the Rose Garden, after losing the last meeting between the two teams 102-77.

    The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast Channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass.

    LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 14 points in the loss and Marcus Camby pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds as the Blazers were held to 32.5 percent shooting and outrebounded 47-38.

    The Suns, meanwhile, had six players score in double figures while enjoying a 46.8 percent shooting night and leading the Trail Blazers in assists (20) steals (nine) and blocked shots (seven).

    Portland (11-8) will undoubtedly fare better at home, where the Trail Blazers have won the last five meetings between the teams. Phoenix (6-11) has a 3-6 road record this season.

    Another factor that will play in the Trail Blazers favor will be the absence of Phoenix backup center Robin Lopez, the Suns leading rebounder in the last contest with a game-high 12 boards.

    Lopez was suspended one game without pay for improper conduct towards a game official, it was announced Wednesday by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

    The incident, in which Lopez made contact with an official, occurred with 8:14 remaining in the second quarter of the Suns' 99-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Tuesday.

    Phoenix is led by two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, averaging better than 14 points and 10 assists per game this season, while center Marcin Gortat is averaging  more than 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. Former Trail Blazer Channing Frye is averaging 7.1 points and 5.9 rebounds at the starting power forward position.

    The Suns have lost seven of their last nine games, the two wins coming last week on the road against New York and Boston.

    Notes:

    • Portland finished last season with a 3-1 record against the Suns, its best finish in the series since equaling that mark in 1999-2000. The Trail Blazers have won five straight games against the Suns at home and seven of the last nine overall meetings.

    • The Trail Blazers scored over 100 points in all four matchups with Phoenix last season, averaging 106.0 points per game. Portland has scored more than 100 points in eight of the last nine games with the Suns.

    • The winning team has scored 100-plus points in 24 of the last 26 regular season games in the series.

    • In four 2010-11 games between the teams, Portland gained 27 points from the foul line by hitting 93-of-113 (82.3%) free throw attempts, while Phoenix shot 66-for-86 (76.7%) from the charity stripe.

    • The Suns committed 66 turnovers in the four head-to-head matchups last season to the Trail Blazers’ 53 turnovers. Portland held a 32-19 advantage in steals and a 102-77 edge in assists during the four meetings.

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