Portland Trailblazers (50-32 SU 45-35-2 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU 47-34-1 ATS) US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ 10:30 PM EST Monday April 26, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Blazers +6 / Suns -6
This Western Conference opening round playoff series is tied at 2 games apiece.
Tonight in a vital Game 5 in this series the Phoenix Suns host the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers won Game 4 because they controlled the tempo of the game and made it a half court contest. The Suns need to get out and run to win and in Game 4 they only had 4 fast break points while the Blazers had 16. If that happens again there is a good chance Portland will be able to close out this series at home.
This season the Suns were 32-9 at home and the Blazers were 24-17 on the road.
The home court advantage is pretty big even though both teams have won on the other teams’ floor in this series.
The Blazers beat the Suns in Game 4 winning 96-87 on Saturday.
Brandon Roy has surprisingly come back to play in this series in Game 4 and will be available tonight even though Jared Bayless will get the start again for the Blazers.
Jason Richardson is the high scorer for the Suns in this series at 25 ppg, but in Game 4 he only scored 15 points on 6/16 shooting and he only hit 2/8 of his 3-point shots. He needs to score for the Suns to win and Steve Nash needs to get him more involved and force this into a run-and-gun game. The Suns only hit on 26.1% of their 3-pointers in Game 4 and they need to improve upon that tonight and hit the long ball.
Portland has to play better defense on LeMarcus Aldridge, as in Game 4 he blew up for 31 points and he grabbed 11 boards.
Amare Stoudamire had a solid Game 4 going for 26 points, but he needs help tonight from Richardson and Nash, who both scored 15 points in the loss.
The Suns really need to keep the Blazers from dominating the boards, as even though they were only out-rebounded by 6 in Game 4 Phoenix did have 7 more offensive rebounds.
The high scorer for the Suns in Game 4 was Amare Stoudamire going for 26 points on 9/16 shooting and for the Blazers it was LeMarcus Aldridge going for 31 points on 11/19 shooting. For the game the Blazers shot 35/79 for a FG% of 44.3% and the Suns shot 33/76 for a FG% of 43.4%. In the game the Blazers had 45 rebounds and 7 turnovers and the Suns had 39 points and 11 turnovers.
This season Phoenix was the highest scoring team in the league (110.2 ppg) and Portland ranked 21st (98.1 ppg). On defense the Blazers ranked 3rd in the league in opponents’ points allowed (94.8 ppg) and the Suns only ranked 26th (105.3 ppg). The Blazers were slightly better on the boards this season with a rebounding differential of +2.1 rpg and the Suns were at +0.7 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Suns rank 5th (94.79) and the Blazers rank 12th (92.89).
Portland is 16-7-1 ATS in their last 24 road games, 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog of 5.0-10.5, and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a win.
Portland has an Over record of 16-7 in their last 23 road games, an Over record of 17-8 in their last 25 games as a road underdog, and an Over record of 11-5 in Trail Blazers last 16 road games against teams with a home winning percentage of greater than 60%.
Phoenix is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 home games, 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite, and 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 home games against teams with a winning road record.
Phoenix has an Over record of 5-1 in their last 6 home games and an Over record of 13-6 in their last 19 playoff games as a favorite.
The underdog is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 games between these 2 teams.
On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: Even though Roy is back for the Blazers and will give them a lift I think the Suns will be able to play their style of ball in their house. The Suns will get out and run and that is the key in this game. I think Portland will keep it close, as they will cover, but the Suns will win this game and take a 3-2 lead in this series. Take Portland and the points tonight.