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NBA Preview: Phoenix Suns (14-12) at Portland Trail Blazers (6-19)

The Portland Trail Blazers attempt to avoid their second eight-game losing streak of the season when they host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

As for Phoenix, it will be shooting for its second straight victory after a skid in which it lost six of eight contests.

Portland lost eight straight games from Nov. 5-21. After winning three of the next four, the Trail Blazers have dropped seven straight, including the last three at home as part of a stretch in which Portland plays eight of nine at the Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers recovered from a 22-point deficit Sunday before falling 118-114 to the Golden State Warriors. Guard Anfernee Simons was able to find positive things in the setback as the franchise tries to transform itself after the end of the Damian Lillard era.

The Trail Blazers have won just six of 25 games this season with a cast that includes newcomers Deandre Ayton and Malcolm Brogdon as well as No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson to go with holdovers Simons and Jerami Grant.

Any chance to mesh quickly was curtailed when Simons sustained a right thumb injury in the season opener and missed the next 18 games.

In fact, the game against Golden State marked just the third time that the quartet of Simons, Grant, Ayton and Brogdon all played in the same game. Grant led the way with 30 points.

Portland coach Chauncey Billups was encouraged that his squad didn’t fold after falling behind by a large margin.

The Suns are coming off Sunday’s 112-108 victory over the visiting Washington Wizards.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Devin Booker added 27 for Phoenix.

Booker was just 6-of-18 shooting through three quarters, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range, as the Suns trailed 89-81 entering the final 12 minutes.

But he found the mark in the fourth quarter with 11 points, knocking down two treys, as Phoenix outscored Washington 31-19.

Booker has scored 27 or more points in each of his past five appearances and is averaging 29.8 points during the span.

He admitted that the first three quarters were discouraging before he found his stroke. He made 4 of 6 shots in the final 12 minutes.

Durant made note of the Suns winning despite committing 17 turnovers and making just 7 of 31 3-point attempts.

The Suns announced Monday that veteran guard Bradley Beal, who suffered an ankle injury during Friday’s 139-122 home loss to the New York Knicks, will miss at least two weeks.

The Suns defeated the visiting Trail Blazers 120-107 on Nov. 21 behind 31 points from Durant and 28 from Booker. Grant scored 26 for Portland.

5-Hour Energy

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