National Basketball Association
Portland at Phoenix
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, March 27, 2015
Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
The Phoenix Suns are running out of time to land a Western Conference playoff spot and look to gain some ground when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Phoenix is three games behind eighth-place Oklahoma City in the West with 10 games left and certainly did themselves no favors by losing to lowly Sacramento on Wednesday. Portland is in fourth place in the West and ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
The Suns knew when they took the court against Sacramento that the Thunder were being routed by San Antonio and still came up short in a 108-99 home loss. “It was a tough loss but at the end of the day, we’re right there,” Phoenix point guard Eric Bledsoe told reporters. “We still have a couple of games left that are winnable games.” The Trail Blazers recovered from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to post a 92-89 win over Utah and snap their skid.TV:
10 p.m. ET, NBATV, CSN Northwest (Portland), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (45-25):
Small forward Nicolas Batum has missed two straight games due to lower-back soreness but is expected to make a well-timed return against the Suns. Batum has three 20-point outings this season and two have come against Phoenix as he is averaging 23.5 points and shooting 60.7 percent from the field in those contests. Batum’s season-high point total of 27 came in a loss to the Suns on Jan. 21 and he had 20 points in Portland’s win over Phoenix on Feb. 5. ABOUT THE SUNS (38-34):
Phoenix hopes to have point guard Brandon Knight back on the court after he missed the past seven games with an ankle injury. There was speculation he would return against Sacramento but the ankle flared up in pregame warm-ups and it was decided to hold him out. Knight has only played in 10 games since being acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks and is averaging 14.4 points and 4.5 assists.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Portland has lost its last seven visits to Phoenix and 16 of the past 18.
2. Phoenix PF Markieff Morris scored 24 points against Sacramento and is averaging 19.6 over the past seven contests.
3. Trail Blazers C Chris Kaman (shoulder) could sit out for the fourth straight game.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 101, Suns 98
Stats and Records