It’s going to be a battle of elite backcourts as Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers host the Phoenix Suns anchored by Chris Paul and Devin Booker live at 11:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines.
After basking in the glory of another win at the All-Star Game, Lillard and Paul will dispose of all of the good vibes and go on opposite ends of the court once again to begin the second half of their season.
The Suns were expected to improve with the arrival of Paul, but perhaps no one expected the hot streak that they currently enjoy. Not only are the Suns winners of four straight games, they’re also sitting pretty at 2nd place in the Western Conference with a 24-11 record. The Suns have found not only a leader in Paul, but also a top-notch orchestrator and veteran who’s unafraid to take and make big baskets in the clutch.
Beyond Paul, a big reason for the team’s success is Devin Booker, who’s been averaging 24.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Booker had to scale back his game to make room for Paul, but the resulting success has been more than worth the sacrifice. Booker had a disappointing end to the first half of the season as he was forced to skip the All-Star Game with a knee injury, but he should be ready to come back and help out the Suns.
The Suns will definitely need Booker in action if they are to keep up with Lillard, the Blazers’ MVP candidate. It has been Dame Time all season long with Lillard ranking 3rd in league scoring at 29.8 points per game and 2nd in 3 points made with 146. Positioned at No. 6 in the standings, Portland is hoping not to drop any further to avoid being caught in the Play-In Tournament ahead of the playoffs.
Count on Lillard -- who continues to impress despite the absence of injured teammates CJ McCollum, Zach Collins, and Jusuf Nurkic -- to compete and go all out. After all, there is added motivation after the Suns beat the Blazers in their first encounter of the season, 132-100. That was the biggest winning margin of the season for the Suns, something that the Blazers are surely not proud of.
Can Lillard get his revenge or will the Suns shine brightly once again?