Game Thread: Suns (10-2) at Hornets (4-8)


Hornets 110, Suns 103

Suns

Suns

Hornets

Hornets

There is every reason to believe the Phoenix Suns will win this basketball game.

They are playing so well as a team that it’s as if they can do no wrong, and they’re facing a New Orleans squad without its best player by far (CP3). To add insult to injury, the last time these teams hooked up the resulting 20-point beat down was so thorough that head coach Byron Scott was fired in its aftermath. So yes, you can say the Suns fired New Orleans’ head coach.

Even with Paul the Hornets were struggling, so a victory over the Clippers notwithstanding, this looks like another Suns rout with New Orleans’ starting point guard being Darren Collison, who I think will be a solid backup point guard in this league for a number of years but is no CP3.

But anybody who thinks this will be an easy win for the Suns is neglecting one vital piece of information: this game is being televised by TNT.

I don’t point that out because the Hornets don’t belong on national TV as currently constituted but because the Suns haven’t won a game on the network since I was in college. OK, it wasn’t thaaaat long ago, but Phoenix went 0-10 last year and has lost 15 in a row on the network including exhibitions and the debacle in Staples last Thursday night.

I know, I know, in theory it doesn’t matter if JMZ is televising the game, the Suns should be able to beat a reeling opponent. It’s just one of those inexplicable things in sports, although the easiest explanation is TNT mainly televises marquee matchups and the Suns sucked against good teams last year, thus they often lost the kind of games shown on TNT.

So that means this here game is the ultimate test of the Suns’ TNT jinx. The Suns can do no wrong, routinely digging out of major deficits and winning all the games they should and then some. They’re undefeated with a day off having only lost to the 2009 NBA Finals participants on the second halves of back-to-backs on the road.

The Hornets are reeling big time with CP3 sidelined and Byron Scott looking for employment (and Tim freaking Floyd of all people back on their coaching staff). Even at full strength they’ve been horrible, and I’ve never seen the Suns look so good on the boards as they did in the first half of last week’s game against the Hornets. Phoenix played a nearly flawless first half last week and looked to be on a completely different level than New Orleans.

There is no reason to believe the Suns will lose this game.

If they do, we will know the TNT jinx is for real.