The Phoenix Suns will host their final game of their 3-game home stand on a Friday night against the rookie sensation Anthony Davis and his New Orleans Hornets, however there is a chance that Davis won’t suit-up for New Orleans tonight against the Suns as he’s dealing with an nagging ankle injury; he’s listed as day-to-day. Should Davis be out for tonight’s game Ryan Anderson will start in his place.
The Suns however will see a familiar face tonight as it’ll be a home coming for Robin Lopez who was sent to New Orleans in a 3 team trade between Phoenix, Minnesota, and New Orleans this past off-season. Lopez is having his best year as a pro averaging 11.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and about 2 blocks through the first 10 games of the season.
The Phoenix Suns are fresh off a dominating win against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night after Alvin Gentry pulled Jared Dudley and Luis Scola out of the starting line-up and inserted Shannon Brown and Markieff Morris in their place, and it paid-off for Gentry as Brown and Morris rewarded Gentry as the two guys combined for 29 points on 11-17 shooting.
The Suns are the favorite heading into tonight by a 4.5 point margin according to ESPN.com. Eric Gordon is still out for the Hornets, he’s yet to play a minute in the regular season as he’s been just hampered by a knee-injury all year long. The Suns have no one on the injured list.
Keys to the game: Suns
– Be aggressive early. The Suns have developed a trend this season for coming out of the gates slow, they can’t make that a habit during a 82-game season unless they want to watch the playoffs from their living room.
– The chemistry factor. These Suns have not had the best on-court chemistry and it shows in their struggles at running the break, change in the starting line-up and Marcin Gortat’s rant with the whole Polish interview thing certainly hasn’t helped.
– Attack the rim. The Suns are 23rd this season in free-throw attempts per game(21.1). They need to be more aggressive attacking the basket and look to draw fouls, especially if Davis is playing tonight; you attack a shot blocker, you don’t shy away from him.
Keys to the game: Hornets
– Oddly enough, a big key in this game could also be the Hornet’s assertiveness to attack the rim. The Hornets are one of the best free-throw shooting teams this season making an impressive 81% of their free-throws; only Memphis and Oklahoma City has shot better from the foul-line.
– Get Austin Rivers going. Rivers who was a dynamic scorer in college, and typically scorers has an easier time adjusting to the ways of the NBA but Rivers has had a awful season averaging just 7 points and 3 assists on the year despite playing nearly 30 minutes a game. Something is clearly wrong.
– Three-point shooting. Both teams has been pretty much as bad as it gets in terms of 3-point defense and I’m guessing whoever can get hot and make some long bombs tonight will have a great shot at winning this game. The only 2 Suns this season that have shot the 3 ball well seems to be Goran Dragic and Shannon, but most recently Markieff Morris seems to be getting his touch back so the Suns will hope to get that rolling for them.
Match-up of the night!
– I’m looking at the power forwards tonight, Markieff Morris vs. Ryan Anderson/Anthony Davis. Morris is coming off his best game of the year and he will look to build on that. The last time Morris got the starting nod early in the season(last season) after a couple of impressive showings off the bench, Morris struggled in the starting role and the Suns went 0-5 in the 5 games he started. This time Morris is 1-0 and seems to be more comfortable in the starting role but his match-up tonight whether it’s Anderson or Davis it’ll definitely be fun to watch.