Trail Blazers-Suns Preview
The streaking Portland Trail Blazers are on the verge of their best start in 23 years, though they'll have to pull out a rare victory in Phoenix to get there.
The Blazers look to extend their winning streak to 12 on Wednesday night when they go for their fifth win in 26 regular-season road games against the Suns.
After winning 33 games last season, Portland (13-2) continued its longest run since a 13-game winning streak Dec. 3-30, 2007, with a 102-91 victory over visiting New York on Monday.
The Blazers are seeking their best start since opening the 1990-91 campaign with a 19-1 record.
"We're playing hard and we're playing together and it just feels like we're playing the right way,'' said guard Wesley Matthews, who had 17 points against the Knicks. ''When you do that, the ball seems to find you."
Although they've won by double digits six times during the streak, the Blazers needed overtime to escape with a 118-110 win in Toronto on Nov. 17 before rallying from a 21-point deficit in Friday's 98-95 victory over visiting Chicago.
They also were down eight points with eight minutes remaining before coming back to edge Phoenix 90-89 on a Damian Lillard layup with 6.5 seconds left Nov. 13. Lillard had scored 26.3 per game over four meetings before managing 11 on 4-of-13 shooting.
''This level of success is usually not very easy. But we've stayed consistent and we've stayed focused,'' said center Robin Lopez, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds against the Suns. "I think we've earned it."
Following consecutive wins to open a three-game trip, Phoenix (7-7) suffered a 107-92 defeat at Miami on Monday. Channing Frye led six players in double figures with 16 points for the Suns, who shot 39.8 percent en route to their fifth loss in seven games.
''We were playing pretty decently for a while,'' coach Jeff Hornacek said. ''We just couldn't make any shots. The third game of a fourth night might have started to get us."
The Suns have dropped their last two at home following a 4-0 start, but they're looking to continue their dominance there against the Blazers. They're 21-4 at home in the series during the regular season since 2000-01, including five consecutive wins by an average of 17.4 points.
The Suns handed the Blazers one of their two losses with a 104-91 season-opening victory in Phoenix. Goran Dragic led the way with 26 points and nine assists to help Phoenix overcome a combined 60 points from Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Dragic is playing well heading into this meeting, averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 assists in his last four games.
Eric Bledsoe, leading the Suns with 20.4 points per game, had 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the opener and scored a game-high 23 in Portland. Bledsoe, however, is expected to be a game-time decision after missing the last five with a sore left shin.
The Suns could have their hands full with Aldridge, who has totaled 48 points and 35 rebounds despite shooting 14 for 41 in his last two games.
The Blazers will get reserve guard Mo Williams back after he served a one-game suspension without pay for his role in a scuffle during Saturday's victory at Golden State.
Portland has dropped six of nine in this series overall.