The Portland Trailblazers have gotten off to a tough start this season after a very impressive performance a year ago. They’re currently in 12th place in the Western Conference but they’ve at least shown some improved form in the past couple of weeks and have pulled within 1.5 games of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the final playoff spot. With rumors swirling that local product Kevin Love might be acquired by the Blazers at the trade deadline there’s at least some enthusiasm surrounding the team at the moment. The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony has breathed some life into the Portland offense and they could turn it around in the second half of the season.
Phoenix’s strong play out of the gate was one of the big surprises in the early going of the 2019-2020 NBA campaign but they’ve cooled considerably. The Suns opened the year going 7-4 SU/9-2 ATS but are 4-10 SU/5-8-1 ATS since then. There are some injury concerns about superstar shooting guard Devin Booker who missed his first game of the year last time out. He’s listed as ‘questionable’ for this game with a forearm injury though he insists that he feels better. In Phoenix’s situation you’d think they’d err on the side of caution with a player that could define the franchise for years to come.
With center Jusuf Nurkic out indefinitely after the nasty leg injury he suffered late last season the Blazers could use some help in the paint. Kevin Love might not be the nasty defender that Nurkic is but he’s a very talented and versatile veteran that would love to come back to ‘Rip City’ and play ball. Love attended high school in suburban Lake Oswego, Oregon before attending college at UCLA. Love finished his high school career as the all time leading scorer in Oregon history so his roots to the area run deep. Of course by now everyone knows that Love has some celebrity pedigree–his uncle Mike Love founded a little band called ‘The Beach Boys’.
Portland has been playing better of late but they’re still struggling when they step up in class. Their most recent wins have come against the Knicks, Kings, Bulls and Thunder at home with a win over Chicago on the road as well. They’ve lost to some elite opposition–at Denver, at the Clippers nd home against the Thunder and Lakers. Fortunately for Portland, Phoenix is far from ‘elite’. The Blazers have had a tendency to struggle on the road during the past few years but have had little trouble against the Suns overall regardless of venue. Portland has won the last 7 meetings going 4-3 ATS including 3 straight in Phoenix going 2-1 ATS. Blazers are undervalued after their poor start while Phoenix is overvalued after their hot start. Portland should be favored here but if you shop this one around you can get the Blazers as a dog. We’ll also play this one ‘Over’ as Portland’s offense is coming around and should shred the passive Suns’ defense. Phoenix has gone ‘Over’ in 15 of their first 25 games including 11 of 15 at home.