The Phoenix Suns are set to host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight in downtown Phoenix in what would be the final game of the Suns 3-game home stand as they will head off on a 4-game road trip which begins on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
The Suns are fresh off a very disappointing loss on Friday night to the Utah Jazz in a game which the Suns scored only 9 points in the entire 2nd quarter, turned the ball over 21 times, and allowed the Jazz to score 60 of their 87 points in the paint.
“Well obviously, the biggest problem was turnovers,” said Marcin Gortat, who recorded 18 points and 11 rebounds. “Second thing, we are not helping each other on all different screens and rolls. … Basically, it is just all about competing and playing hard right now. And quite honestly we are not doing it.”
Heading into tonight’s contest, wins in Phoenix has been scarce for Memphis as they’ve able to secure only 2 wins in their last 14 games played here in Phoenix and most recently lost to the Suns at the U.S Airways center 80-82 on December 12th.
The point margin for tonight’s game is even according to ESPN.com. The Memphis Grizzlies has shooting guard Wayne Ellington listed as out, back-up point guard Jerryd Bayless listed as day-to-day but most significantly Memphis has star forward Zach Randolph listed as day-to-day as well. Randolph traveled with the team to Phoenix but Randolph is currently dealing with an illness which caused him to miss his last game; his status for tonight’s game is up in the air.
The Suns on the other hand still has Sebastian Telfair on the injured list listed as day-to-day. Telfair left Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers with knee soreness and did not return, however he ended up playing against the Jazz on Friday which just about makes his status for tonight’s game against Memphis probable.
Keys to the game: Suns
– Play with energy. The Suns looked completely dead on Friday night against the Jazz after the 1st quarter and with the exception of a few players most of them looked like they had their heads in the cloud. If the Suns display the same kind of body language and spirit like they did Friday night, don’t expect a W.
– Like the Polish Hammer said, stop with the turnovers. The Suns are simply not good enough offensively to be turning the ball over 15, 20 times again. The Suns need to be disciplined offensively which means making the correct passes and plays instead of trying to make something happen out of thin air every other possession.
– Get the crowd into the game early meaning the Suns need to make some early plays and give the U.S Airways center something to cheer about. This Grizzlies team is certainly a good team but away from Memphis, the Grizzlies own a mere 7-6 road record. If the Suns can get the crowd into the game early and gain some early momentum they got a shot at coming away with this game.
Keys to the game: Grizzlies
– Pound the ball inside! If Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap had such a field day with this Suns defense, the Grizzlies should have even an easier time doing so. If the Grizzlies can find a way to dominate the paint they’ll be able to control the flow of the game which makes their chance of winning this game that much better.
– Play team basketball. One glaring weakness that Memphis has offensively is the fact that at times they get stagnant and play one too many one on ones. The Grizzlies rank 22nd in the NBA in assist per game, and as always, too many isolation plays often lead to poor offense.
– First to 100? The Grizzles hasn’t scored over 100 points since the last time they beat the Suns in overtime over a month ago. The Suns are 7-4 this season when the score 100 points or more but Memphis are 9-0 this season when they put up triple figures…Interesting…..
Match-up of the night!
– Big on big! Marcin Gortat vs. Marc Gasol. Gortat has been playing well lately as he’s recorded 3 straight double-doubles while Marc Gasol is fresh of a game in which he swatted away 8 shots, this should be a good one.