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Extra Pass: Suns battle Blazers, aim for second straight win

October 23, 2021, 4:00 PM ● Jon Carlos Rodriguez

Coming off a stellar outing against the Lakers, the Suns are looking for back-to-back wins when they face the Blazers tomorrow.

The Western Conference champs are just getting warmed up. They dropped their season opener against the Denver Nuggets, but the Phoenix Suns got things clicking in their second game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Suns found the correct temperature they need to be at to compete at a high level. After a lukewarm-check kind of game versus the Nuggets (only 12 points on 3-of-15 shooting), Devin Booker was a step better versus the Lakers (22 points on 9-of-19 shooting). It’s nowhere near wet like Book, but it did get the job done in LA.

Chris Paul also did Chris Paul things with a monster 23-point, 14-assist line. But it was the overall elite play of Mikal Bridges that truly makes the Suns a lethal team.

In two games, Bridges is averaging 18.5 points per game on 55.6 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and a block. Teams will have Booker and CP’s names in bold letters on their defense whiteboards, but Bridges demands equal attention.

The Suns’ third assignment will be a battle against the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that underwent a couple of changes in the offseason. They lost Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers and got Chauncey Billups as the new head coach.

In their first game of the season, they pretty much looked the same but the numbers said otherwise. They lost by three to the Sacramento King in a game where Damian Lillard didn’t hit a single 3-pointer in nine tries.

A healthy CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic were both joys to watch and are obviously problems for opposing teams if they stay on the court for long stretches. They’ll be looking to bounce back against the Suns on Sunday, 10AM on NBA TV Philippines, which is available on Smart’s GigaPlay app and on Cignal TV.

The Suns and Blazers can get hot fast and in extended periods of time. Expect a shootout.

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