Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Moda Center
The Portland Trail Blazers as we know them are already toast. They may or may not be trading Damian Lillard (or, more likely, C.J. McCollum) anytime soon, but the firing of GM Neil Olshey on December 3 was a sign of things to come – and a warning to other GMs around the league that their conduct needs to be impeccable, lest their teams try to find just cause for their dismissal and thus avoid having to pay them.
The Trail Blazers (11-16 SU, 10-16-1 ATS) have lost four straight games at 1-3 ATS since the Olshey firing, and McCollum is out indefinitely with a collapsed right lung, so yes, this looks like a good time to kick Portland while they’re down.
Our would-be kickers: the Phoenix Suns (21-5 SU, 13-13 ATS), who are coming off Monday’s 111-95 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers (+3.5 at home). The Suns opened as 2.5-point road faves on the NBA odds board at Bovada Sportsbook, and FiveThirtyEight project Tuesday’s game as a pick’em, so there you go.
Stop Yelling At Me
Whatever you think of the month-long investigation that led to Olshey getting canned, there’s no question Portland’s troubles started on his watch. The strange circumstances surrounding his offseason hiring of head coach Chauncey Billups were just the tip of the iceberg; Olshey unceremoniously ran previous head coach Terry Stotts out of town, and assistant Kim Hughes before that.
Lost in the shuffle was the resignation of president and CEO Chris McGowan back on November 26, after nine mostly successful years on the job. McGowan was reportedly quite upset with the Billups hiring – and so are the players, according to the rumor mill. Apparently, they don’t appreciate Billups excoriating them for not playing hard enough. He could be the next person out the door. Or maybe it will be Lillard, although Portland recently shot down any ideas about sending him to Philadelphia as part of a Ben Simmons trade.
Sarver Family Values
The Suns have plenty of front-office intrigue of their own, but it appears to be limited to owner Robert Sarver, who has bungled this otherwise promising franchise many times in the past. For the moment, this is a complete team – aside from Deandre Ayton (illness), who might have to sit this one out after taking Monday night off.
Devin Booker is also week-to-week with a strained left hamstring; the Suns are 3-2 SU and 1-4 ATS since he last played. We’re not going to let that stop us from putting Phoenix in our NBA picks – although we will temper our enthusiasm and suggest a smaller bet size. The Suns didn’t have a lot to offer Monday night, and they’re playing on zero days of rest, so make this your standard one-unit wager, and may the sphere be with you.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.