Preview: Wizards (8-16) at Suns (17-9)

Suns 121, Wizards 95





Coming off a frustrating loss in Portland, the Suns have a chance to bounce back at the Purple Palace tonight when they take on the underachieving Washington Wizards.

After battling through a stretch that featured the Lakers, Mavericks, Magic, Nuggets, Spurs and Trail Blazers, the Suns finally take on a sub-par squad at home, where they are still undefeated at 9-0.

The Suns went 2-4 during that brutal six-game stretch, and they certainly wish they could have a couple of those games back. If the Suns were able to come up with some big plays and didn’t blow so many double-digit leads they could have easily came out 5-1, or at least 4-2.

But replaying those games is not an option, and the Suns proved they have some serious issues maintaining leads. However, they have also shown that wins at the US Airways Center are a virtual guarantee, as they boast a home winning streak that dates back to March.

The Suns will begin their longest home stand yet tonight (four games) when they take on the Wizards.

After acquiring Randy Foye and Mike Miller in the offseason, the Wiz haven’t played at the level that their roster suggests. They are currently last in their division, but are coming off a 118-109 victory last night in Golden State.

Although the Wizards shouldn’t pose too many troubles for the Suns, if anyone can single-handedly end the Suns’ home winning streak, it’s Gilbert Arenas. Agent Zero is averaging 39.0 points per game in his last two contests, including a 45-point effort last night. Suns fans may remember what happened the last time Arenas visited US Airways Center back on Dec. 22, 2006.

Granted this was when Arenas was at the top of his game, but nonetheless he pasted 54 points on the Suns in a 144-139 overtime victory that ended Phoenix’s then-franchise record 15-game winning streak.

It is going to be interesting to see who tries their hand at Agent Zero. I would expect to see some Jason Richardson, who is expected to return tonight after missing the Portland game with a sprained wrist, and possibly some Goran Dragic here and there.

Even if Arenas goes off, the Suns should be able to pull out a victory against a Wizards team that is 1-6 in its previous seven games, with those six losses coming by an average of just 2.3 ppg. The Wizards have dropped six straight to the Suns, and if Phoenix can build a lead early and actually hang on, this one could be over quickly.

But with Arenas in town and considering the Suns’ knack for keeping their opponents in the game, anything is possible.

Tags: Gilbert Arenas

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