Time: 6 p.m. MST
TV: FSAThe Phoenix Suns probably should have lost on Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans. They let the Pellies shoot 53.8 percent from the field and that includes a 14-of-18 night from Anthony Davis. Defense was not where it needed to be for the Suns and they were lucky to be playing a team that played even worse defense. Oh, and that Goran Dragic guy scoring 40 sure did help a little.
Sunday, the Suns play an Atlanta Hawks team that is banged up and struggling. They went just 2-12 in the month of February and are without Al Horford and probably Paul Millsap as well.
This is a game the Suns cannot afford to lose with the schedule that they have coming up — and Dragic knows it.
“We play twice against Clippers, Thunder and Warriors, tough four games for us,” Dragic said. “I think we have to take care of every game. Let’s try to get this one and after that I think we always respond to the good teams.”
The Suns have habitually lost games to lesser opponents this year. They have lost two games each to both the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, they fell to a beat up Bulls team at home and recently lost to the T-Wolves at home.
With the Memphis Grizzlies right on the Suns’ tail for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, they cannot afford to slip up.
Let’s look at some keys for tonight’s game.
Better effort defensively?
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek knows that his team needs to play better defensively. As bad as the Hawks are playing, they do have some guys that can score the basketball in Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver. Another poor effort defensively is not in Hornacek’s gameplan.
“They are a team that can put up points, they shoot the three ball, have some veteran guys, they really move the ball and spread the ball,” Hornacek said. “We have to make sure we stay in front of guys or they will pick us a part.”
How does the “beat-up’ crew respond?
Hornacek kept Dragic, Gerald Green and the Morris twins on the sidelines at practice yesterday. We all know of Dragic’s expected ankle soreness, but Hornacek mentioned of a toe injury that is bothering Green. Marcus Morris was also banged up, while Keef just got the day off. Do the small ailments affect those three players tonight, or is rest going to put a pop in their steps?
Kyle Korver’s streak
Korver has made a three-pointer in 126 games and has not had a game without making a three-point shot since Nov. 2, 2012. Can the Suns not only keep Korver grounded, but end his NBA record three-point streak?