Preview: Memphis Grizzlies (13-17) vs. Phoenix Suns (19-11)


Time: 7 p.m. MST

TV: FSA

Grizzlies

Grizzlies

Suns

Suns

The Las Vegas odds-makers set the Suns over/under win total at 19.5 for this season. If you bet the over then you are sitting pretty as the Suns enter the 2014 calendar year tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies with 19 wins.

The Suns have been the biggest surprise in the NBA that not even the players’ moms saw coming. Talk in the preseason was all about whether the Suns will get Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or any of the top college basketball players in the draft but that has now shifted to the team’s contention for the Pacific Division crown — and even to whether the Suns can host a first round playoff series.

General Manager Ryan McDonough has built this team quicker than anyone could imagine and the end of 2013 couldn’t have ended better for the franchise. Tonight, the Suns will try to start 2014 the way they ended 2013 … with a win.

How do the Suns stop Zach Randolph?

One of the very few disappointments of this season came in Memphis on Dec. 3 when a Randolph-less Grizzles team trounced the Suns 110-91. A guy named Jon Leuer led the team in scoring with 23 points in a game that just flat out got away from the Suns. Everything the Grizzlies did offensively in that game will be different tonight with Randolph in the lineup. The power forward is averaging 16.7 points per game along with 10 rebounds. He defines the Grizzlies “grind house” mentality with his toughness he provides in the paint. Frye did a fantastic job shutting down Blake Griffin on Monday, but Randolph is an entirely different animal and it will take a team effort to control him.

Dragic and Bledsoe face a stiff test. How will they do against a strong defensive duo?

Tony Allen and Mike Conley are two of the better defensive guards in the NBA. Allen has a reputation as being one of the best shut down defenders in basketball who routinely guards the opponents’ best players night in and night out. Conley meanwhile may not be viewed as a great defender, but he is quietly one of the better defenders in the league. Last season he ranked 7th in the league in DEF, a category that measures the amount of steals, blocks and charges per game. Back in December Bledsoe was stymied by their defense shooting just 4-13 for nine points as Dragic was just a little bit better scoring 16 points. One of these two will need to solve their defense for the Suns to win. 

Will Gerald Green ever cool off?

I will be honest … I did not agree with Hornacek giving Green big minutes earlier in the year. Green has bounced around the league for a reason. He is too much of a streaky player that cannot help a team win when things are not going his way. I will now admit I was wrong and actually think Green is one of the integral pieces to the Suns. Jeff Hornacek has done a perfect job coaching him by giving him the green light whenever the ball finds his hands and the confidence that he needs to succeed. Green has made 25 three point shots in his last six games with the Suns winning five of those. When Green is hitting from deep, it gives the Suns offense a different dynamic that not every team can say they have.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies NBA Phoenix Suns

  • EBJM

    Zach Randolph? Come-on now, missing Z-Bo didn’t slow down the Grizzlies one bit that night. You didn’t mention they were missing the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol who also should have been 1st team all NBA instead of 2nd team.

    Z-Bo’s future replacement Ed Davis went for 21/12/3 on 8-11 shooting.

    Mike Conley dished for 14 dimes as seven Grizzles scored in double figures.

    Gasol’s back-up Kosta Koufos posted 14/12/2 on 7-12 shooting.

    Suns even let Tayshaun Prince hit 5 of 6 for 10 points.

    Grizzlies have lost 7 of 10 and aren’t a very good team. Jon Leuer hasn’t done much since his career night against Phoenix.

    Let Z-Bo have his as long as the Suns shut down the rest of the team it won’t matter.

    Las Vegas oddsmakers opened at 21.5 on the Suns and they dropped to 19 and then settled at 19.5 after the Suns traded starting center Marcin Gortat to Washington for injured center Omeka Okafur.

    It was that trade that many thought the Suns were tanking for the worst record in the league.

  • EBJM

    To Scott and Foever on potential trades.

    I though Pau would have been a decent move for a playoff run but I have since relented since Pau is struggling to run in D’Antoni’s SSOL.

    ESPN Kevin Pelton suggested the Suns might just keep Okafur and to get him ready for the playoffs instead of trading his expiring contract for another player just for the playoffs.

    Then Paul Coro has reported that Alex Len is practicing with the Suns again and thus far hasn’t felt any pain in his ankles.

    I think McMiracle rolls the dice and sticks with those two unless he can pry Kevin Love away from the Wolves. I know that you don’t like that trade Forever but rumor has it that McMiracle does.

    Love actually fits the mold of a couple of other All-Stars that Phoenix has acquired in the past and would fit in quite nicely IMO.

    Charles Barkley was very similar player as far as scoring and rebounding but a lack of defense as was Tom Chambers who dominated at the “3″ alongside Armen Gilliam and then Kurt Rambis.

    A bit of Suns PF trivia: You would have to go all the way back to the late 70′s early 80′s to find a true stud at PF for the Suns. Len “Truck” Robinson once led the league in rebounding with close to 16 per while scoring almost 23 per.

    His best stat? He currently ranks #28 in career defensive rating. A bit of perspective, Duncan, Howard, Garnett, David Robinson, Mourning, & Olajuwon are players ahead of him.

    Guess who is ranked #1 right ahead of Tim Duncan?

    Garfield Heard, whose shot in the ’75 Finals was “Heard around the World”!

    The Suns first stud at PF, Paul Silas is ranked at #10.

    The Suns best two-headed center, Rick Kelley and Alvan Adams are ranked respectively at #22 and #31.

    Not bad considering the Suns have rarely emphasized defense and have almost always been a running and gunning team.

  • EBJM

    Kendall Marshall finally got some significant burn against the Bucks after Jordan Farmar pulled a hammy. Twenty-seven minutes, 10 points and 7 dimes but the Bucks win behind Brandon Knight’s 37 points and 8 dimes.

  • Foreveris2long

    EBJM, Thanks for the insight. Good to hear Len is practicing again apparently without pain. Yeah you are correct I am not a Love fan because he is a bad defender.

    It seems all of the players McD has brought to the Suns play pretty good defense. While you are 100% correct the Suns have historically paid little attention to defensive abilities if their offense was superior. However if McD goes that route the million dollar question is what does he give up to make that deal. McD just seems different from past GMs but I could be way off base hear.

  • http://thehardwoodboreal.blogspot.com m.i.milliman

    Suns just need to run, with this team more than ever. It seems a no-brainer to say, but this Griz team seems almost cemented to the floor so just run,run, run.

    Go Suns.

  • Foreveris2long

    Did I really spell “here” “hear”? I am the idiot of the day hands down.

  • http://None Porto Suns

    Love would fit great in the Suns roster. But I wouldn’t let the Morris brothers go…Frye + Okafor + 2 first round picks seems fair…

  • vtsunrise

    WITH APOLOGIES TO BUTLER…

    3 HOURS BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE REST OF THE SUNS FAIRY-TALE STORY

    WITH THIS CHAPTER SERVED UP FOR CARNIVORES:

    COACH JEFF “HORNIER THAN A BULL IN HEAT IN A SOUTHWESTERN CHINA SHOP” HORNACEK AND HIS YOUNG UPSTART RISING SUNS EATING THE ENTRAILS OF

    THE GEOGRAPHICALLY CONFUSED KOALA BEARS AND THEIR MASCOT Z-BO BEAR.

  • Fan in Chi Town

    Porto Suns

    I don’t think there is any way Minnesota gives up Love for Frye, Okafor, and a couple first rounders. If you were a GM would you do that deal? They would get an extremely streaky stretch 4 who has just as many off nights as on nights, a guy who can’t get off his couch, and two picks that may or may not pan out.

    Sorry, man. I wish, but I just can’t see that happening. We would have to give up more than that.

  • RealSunsFansSayNoToKoolAidDrinking

    One step forward , two steps back!!!!!!!!

    All you Suns fans that are high on the Suns recent fortunes are smoking fatties if you think this Suns team is doing anything in the playoffs, much less winning a championship, with this current roster!

    The Suns are getting a beatdown by the Memphis Grizzlies, and that team sucks! Suns shots are not falling and thats what happens when you fall in love with jumpshooting and fastbreaking.

    This team hasnt cultivated anything, just surprised teams that didnt expect fight from this team. The Suns dont have a half court offense and thats where teams that go deep in the playoffs thrive and excel.

    Smoke a spliff for me and quit lying to yourselves about the real Suns: no defense, no offense in halfcourt, young team, inexperienced coach, the league being down and most teams being weak either because of injuries to key players, players retiring or getting older and a lack of superior talent!

    Will the League even exist in a couple years……?

  • Sunsn7

    Wow and I though that I was pessimistic. Bucky himself would say you’re being too harsh!

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