Trail Blazers vs Suns Friday, 10/12/12 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Look To Continue Preseason Success Against Suns

10/11/12
  1. Written by: erikgundersen


    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN


    After starting the preseason with a big win Wednesday night, the Trail Blazers will face off against the Phoenix Suns (0-1 preseason). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM on CSNNW and 1190 KEX.

    On Wednesday, the Trail Blazers (1-0 preseason) started their preseason in about the best way imaginable. They played fun, fluid basketball and very good defense. First round draft picks Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard played extremely productive minutes and Portland’s All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge, played up to his reputation.

    Friday night presents yet another opportunity for the young Trail Blazers to continue to improve and feel more comfortable with the defensive and offensive philosophy of head coach Terry Stotts. After being a non-factor in his first half of his professional basketball career, Lillard eventually settled in and ran the show in Wednesday’s victory. It will be interesting to see if that is once again the case on Friday, or if Lillard starts where he left off against the Lakers.

    The Phoenix Suns finds themselves in a similar position to the Trail Blazers, having undergone a major makeover in the offseason. After years of trade speculation, the Steve Nash era came to an end in the Valley of the Sun. What is now left in the wake of the Nash trade is a team of very odd parts that, for the most part, have been discarded by other teams to form these new Suns. They are almost a chop shop of a team.

    Their biggest move was signing free agent Goran Dragic, who put up fantastic numbers when he started in Houston for an injured Kyle Lowry, to a four-year deal. But that wasn’t their only offseason move. The Suns were involved in a three-team deal which netted former lottery pick Wesley Johnson, signed Luis Scola, who was amnestied by the Rockets, to a three-year deal and signed former number two overall pick Michael Beasley as well as former Trail Blazer Jermaine O’Neal.  In the draft they picked up point guard Kendall Marshall, who has already become quite popular due to his twitter account, but not so much yet for his play in the NBA.

    This matchup will be another good test for the Trail Blazers. It’s easier to get up and play hard against a team like the Lakers with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol than it is to fully concentrate on a team like the Suns. Although it is the preseason, this will be a good test to see where this young team is mentally. Do they look past the teams they should probably beat? Or will they continue to build on their good performance from Wednesday, playing the way Coach Stotts has preached throughout training camp?
        
    Although the Suns aren’t touted as a contender or even playoff team, they still have scorers and capable players that can break out on any given night if their opponent doesn’t come ready. There are no true nights off in the NBA and for a young team like the Trail Blazers, this will be the first opportunity to learn that for themselves in a consequence-free environment. Although Wednesday’s result was as good as anybody in Rip City could have asked for, Coach Stotts said afterwards that team still has a lot of work to do on both ends. He’s right and Friday presents another first for this young team in their first true road game and the end of their first road trip.

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