There are just seven games left in the season and the Portland Trail Blazers (37-38) will have to do their best to hold onto the eight seed without rising star Jusuf Nurkić. The team announced late Friday that the team’s key midseason acquisition would miss the rest of the regular season with a non-displaced fibula fracture in his right leg. Deflating as it may be, the Blazers have little time to mourn. Instead they turn their attention to the playoff race and welcome the Phoenix Suns (22-54) to town.
The Suns are coming off of a 124-118 loss to the LA Clippers. It was the tenth straight loss for the Suns, a steak that started on March 12 with a 110-101 loss to the Trail Blazers. Despite the losses the Suns have found a budding young start in 20-year-old Devin Booker. Booker scored 33 points against the Clippers, and made history just two games prior when he became just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70+ points in a game.
On the season Bookers is averaging 21.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game, and 22.2 points, 1.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in three games against the Blazers.
For the Blazers there is plenty on the line in this game. The Blazers open up April after going a league best 13-3 in the month of March, including winning their past five games, and are right back in the thick of the playoff hunt. Heading into this game the Blazers hold a two game lead over the Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot, and can gain another half game with a win. A win against the Suns would also give the Blazers a .500 record for the first time since December 8, when a loss to the Grizzlies dropped them to 12-12.
But most fans will really be looking to see how this team plays without Nurkić. That Blazers season turned around once the Bosnian Beast came to town, and now the Blazers have to finish what he helped start while he watches from the sidelines.
We will help set the stage for Saturday’s game with an all-new Rip City Live starting at 6:00pm only on CSN.
And if you can’t get to a TV, you can check out The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer at 6:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW.
Where: Moda Center, Portland OR
Television: CSN, 7:00pm
CSN Programming: Rip City Live (6:00pm), Talkin' Ball (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)
Live streaming: Watch an authenticated stream of the game at CSNNW.com/BlazersStream or on the NBC Sports App! Plus the Scoop Pregame Show streams at 6:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW
Radio: Rip City Radio 620