Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/21/14
Back on track? The Portland Trail Blazers have won three straight contests, as its young roster is beginning to find success in a lighter part of the schedule. Matchup: Portland (5-5) @ Phoenix Suns (4-7) Venue: US Airways Center Time: 6:00 PM PT Date: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 A game against the 4-7 Phoenix Suns could be just what the team needs to keep their streak going. Game Notes/How They Match Up Batum will have the chance to take advantage of a poor three-point defense against the Suns. We’ve all learned at this point in the year that the Blazers like to get out and run, but it’s the Suns that play at the third-highest pace in the entire NBA. They play transition basketball every chance they get, which has become a staple for the Suns throughout the years. Despite the faster pace, the Suns are actually a lot like the Trail Blazers. Both teams have good offenses, and both teams have atrocious defenses. Portland is 28th in the league in points allowed (101.8 per game), while Phoenix is dead last (104.3 per game). This game is going to come down to which team—if any—can make stops. Playing well in transition will be important, but if one team can excel defensively, they’re going to have the edge Wednesday night. What to Watch: Portland Part of the reason the Blazers have been exceptional on offense this season is because of three-point shooting. The team is top 6 in three-point percentage (38.5 percent), and Nicolas Batum is a big reason why. He has shot 40.8 percent on the year, and he has taken the most deep-range shots of anybody in the NBA. If that news isn’t good enough for Portland, they’ll be going up against a team Wednesday that has the worst three-point defense in the league. The Suns allow 43.2 percent from behind the arc, and it’s an area where teams have looked to take advantage all season. Getting stops will be important for Portland, but if they can take advantage of horrible perimeter defense, they may be able to simply outscore their opponents if their sharpshooters get hot from deep. What to Watch: Phoenix If the Suns are going to keep up with the Blazers’ offense, they must come out of the gate hot. Phoenix hasn’t led at halftime of any of their previous six games. They’ve had a serious problem playing on both sides of the court, and while becoming a two-way team doesn’t happen overnight, it is a crucial part of taking advantage early. If the Blazers can come out and play well from the start, they just might suck the life out of the Suns from the get-go. Phoenix is going to need production in the first quarter, and setting the tone early is going to be part of their strategy. Lillard and Dragic are both score-first guards who can get others involved. (Photo: R. Franklin/AP) Key Matchup The Trail Blazers had Goran Dragic on their free-agent radar late last season, but with the addition of Damian Lillard through the draft, they opted not to pursue another big name at the point guard position. The two guards each have a leadership quality about them, and both will be facing off in this contest. Dragic is the Suns’ leading scorer, as he is averaging 16.3 points per contest—he is also leading the team in assists (7.3). Damian Lillard is also leading his team in assists (6.1), and while he may not be the Blazers’ high scorer, he is near the top with 19 points per contest. Both players are good shooters, both have good size for their position and both can finish at the rim. These two players are also perfect examples of score-first point guards who can get their teammates involved. Both are also subpar-to-average defenders. We’ve seen Lillard struggle slowing down his opposition numerous times this season, and that could be the case against Phoenix. Luckily for the Portland guard, he’ll likely present the same problem for Dragic in their matchup. Prediction The Blazers haven’t had a two-game road winning streak since May 2011, but they have a great chance to break that trend with hot shooting Wednesday night. Blazers 108 – Suns 100 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift, blames media for scrutiny

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray's touches

Lakers announce Steve Nash to miss season with back issues

Is Mack Brown the best option for SMU?

Jeremy Kerley on new contract: 'Bentleys for everybody'

Buss: Any FA who won’t play with Kobe ‘probably a loser’

NFL to start airing its own anti-domestic violence PSAs

WATCH: Former NBAer delivers vicious flying elbow Down Under

RNS looking to add agents with existing client rosters

Would World Series win make the Giants a dynasty?

NFL teams facing potential must-win scenarios in Week 8

WATCH: Jeremy Lin poses as Adidas employee for prank

WATCH: Peyton screams at fans to 'shut the f- up!'

Father auctioning off infant son's soccer club allegiance

Love thanks T'Wolves fans in essay for not burning his jersey

WATCH: Browns WR 'kicks out' son over favorite player snub

Memorabilia dealer wants Todd Gurley reinstated immediately

Aaron Rodgers gave girlfriend Olivia Munn a 'special ring'?

The 10 college football programs with most to gain in Week 9

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What Luis Suarez's return means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

On Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and embracing newfound roles

Top NFL storylines: Week 8

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.