Thursday's game marks the first contest of the Second Half of the season as the Trail Blazers (21-14) host the Phoenix Suns (24-11).
This will be the second of three meetings between the two this season. The final game is scheduled for Thursday, May 13.
Phoenix leads the season series, 1-0.
It was back on Feb. 22 when the Trail Blazers fell to the Suns, 132-100, in Phoenix. In the loss, Damian Lillard led Portland with 24 points and 13 assists, while Devin Booker led Phoenix with 34 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
However, the Suns could be without their leading scorer Devin Booker when Phoenix visits Portland.
Portland finished out the First Half of the season on a three-game winning streak following its 123-119 win at home against Sacramento last Thursday. Lillard notched 44, while Enes Kanter had a dominant performance with 22 points and 21 rebounds.
With the victory the Blazers improved to 11-6 at home.
But the Suns make their way to Moda Center with an impressive 12-5 road record.
The Trail Blazers injury report has not changed after the weeklong break.
Portland will still be without Harry Giles (left calf strain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) are out for Thursday’s contest.
McCollum was cleared for contact practice last week, but the team has not yet provided a timeline for his return. As for Nurkic, last week President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said the Blazers center “continues to progress in his recovery.” He was expected to be re-evaluated late last week.
Nurkic did not practice with the team Wednesday, but instead rode the stationary bike and got up a few shots. As for McCollum, he was not at practice Wednesday due to protocols and COVID-19 testing because McCollum had a funeral to attend over the break.
For the Suns, Devin Booker (left knee; sprain) is questionable and Cameron Johnson (health and safety protocols) is out.
The Blazers are -4.5 point underdogs against the Suns, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Thursday’s matchup --
- Damian Lillard has scored at least 24 points in each of his last five games against Phoenix.
- Nassir Little added 18 points (4-7 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 7-8 FT), to go with five rebounds, one steal and one block at Phoenix on Feb. 22. It's the second-highest scoring game of Little's career.
- Gary Trent Jr. had 11 points (4-18 FG, 3-12 3-PT), two rebounds and one steal in 36 minutes on Feb. 22. His 11 points tied a career- best performance against the Suns (Dec. 20, 2019).
- Devin Booker has scored 393 points over 16 career-games against Portland. If he scores 23 points against Portland on Thursday, he will have scored more regular season points against the Trail Blazers than any other NBA team (Sacramento, 415).
- Deandre Ayton recorded 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting (3-3 FT), five rebounds, two assists and two blocks for the Suns. Ayton has scored in double-figures in three of his four career games against Portland.
- Dario Saric added 14 points (5-12 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT), nine rebounds and one assist in 21 minutes off the bench.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +4.5 (-110) – Suns: -4.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Thursday, March 11
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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