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

Posted by on December 19th, 1:29 pm

Suns 121, Wizards 95

Wizards

Wizards

Suns

Suns

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.

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Preview · Washington Wizards

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Kyle Fleeger // Dec 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Lately, I have taken an interest in Gambo and Ash’s next day review of each Amar’e performance. They call it Amar’ecan Idol. As a result I took a considerably larger amount of notes for this game than previous games. Rather than have a long diatribe describing the Suns destruction of the Wiz, I am going to keep the game analysis short and sweet.

    The Suns came off easily the most disappointing loss of the season when the blew a 14 point lead against Portland on Thursday night. You could tell they were not happy. They came out CRASHING the boards and pounding the inside. Amar’e initially looked laxadazical but after not getting a charging call, he said “good call” to the refs. Consequently, he lost it minutes later and the turning point for Amar’e happened that moment. He got a Technical foul and it seemed from that point on, he was determined to earn calls with his Hustle. I was particularly impressed by a defensive play where Amar’e made effort to get position and bat the ball off the glass for Nash to recover. This just shows that like he said at the Tweetup… He is finally being asked to learn defense… and he is.

    It took J Rich about 2 minutes to lose his wrist guard. Nice work J Rich. Although, it didn’t seem to affect his play.

    We got some early subs in the first quarter and were able to rest our starters a lot this game. As the Second quarter came, Amar’e got angry, and seemed to takeover. Through the 3rd quarter (which all Amar’e played) he had out-rebounded and outscored the ENTIRE Wizards front-court. Both PF’s and C’s on a decent rebounding team were out-rebounded by Amar’e. This isn’t New! In December Amar’e is averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He has 4 double-double’s in his last 5 games. I don’t think anyone watching Amar’e this month can say he isn’t improving on the defensive side of the ball.

    SPEAKING OF DEFENSE.

    The Suns actually played defense. They held the Wiz to 36% shooting and Goran and Lou showed great pick n’ roll defense. The defense continued to start the 3rd Quarter. They held Washington to 2 points through the first 3 minutes. It was all D and rebounding from there. We went into the half +1 in rebounding. We ended the third +13 rebounds. Amar’e had eight! J Rich also contributed with six boards and scored at will in the 3rd when Nick Young was assigned to guard him. He finished with 22 points.

    Then Goran took over. Goran once again showed that he and Nash can be a nasty combo. In his first 9 minutes he had a sweet steal, 6 points, 1 assist and 1 rebound. Not to mention he held Gilbert Arenas to 6-22 shooting on the night. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 23 minutes and controlled the B Squad as the starters got to rest for Lebron on Monday for the entire 4th Quarter.

    - MINIMIZED TURNOVERS!

    The Suns only had 8 Turnover’s through three quarters and Nash and Amar’e seemed more in sync and had less passes bouncing off Amar’e’s feet.

    This was a nice win for the Suns because it shows that we can continue to improve and have a lot of weapons. We still are looking forward to the return of Leandro and there is so much time for the players to develop. Let’s not forget this team has only been playing together for about 6 months and our offense is rhythm and tempo oriented. I loved watching the game.

    Gambo, I can’t wait to hear you on Monday find a way to make this negative. Also, on the Amar’e issue. When considering Amar’e’s roll on the Suns, does it matter when evaluating his stats and late-game performance (or lack there of) that Steve Nash is also on his team? For example, no one calls Pau Gasol a weak 4th quarter player, or not dominant because Kobe takes all the last second shots.

    The Suns are on a home-stand while the division leading Lakers won tonight on the road against… New Jersey. I looked up the Lakers first road trip of the season. They play:

    @Utah, @Chi, @Mil, @NJ, @Detroit… for a combined opponents record of 47-71. They play one team with a +.500 record. That being said, I look forward to January when as Brandon at work says, “It all evens out”. The Lakers have some tough games while the Suns have a pretty easy schedule in front of them. The question is where are we now?

    I think the Suns are going to end the Season the Third best team in the Western Conference. I have predicting a top-four seed long before it was popular and I love hearing people say “no one knew Goran could do this” because I also predicted that. The Suns are a different team than ever before and have depth and coaching to match the talent. I think that in order to be the 3rd seed (extremely valuable because of how the Suns play at home vs. away) the Suns will have to win some of the TOUGH home and road games in December. The ceiling for the Suns is very high. Amar’e recently reminded the press of the 06/07 team that won a TON of games. These Suns also have the depth (if healthy) to win A LOT of games. The higher up in the standings, the more our chances of advancing improve. WE ARE NOT THE SPURS, WE ARE NOT THE LAKERS. We don’t have the type of team who is going to grind out a bunch of road victories. We need as many home games in the playoffs as possible.

    BTW: RoLo came in and was active as always. He is just completely inconsistent. Need proof? Tonight he had only one more rebound (3) than turnovers (2) in 12 minutes. He also had five points.

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