Preview: Phoenix Suns (34-24) vs Atlanta Hawks (26-31)

Time: 6 p.m. MST


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The 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?

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Goran Dragic Jeff Hornacek Phoenix Suns

  • Smovich

    Randolph will clearly be the difference in this game.

  • And1

    Is there anyone dumber than you ???? smovbitch????

  • vtsunrise

    After analyzing the game by game match ups the Suns and Grizzlies each face for their remaining 24 games, I believe the Suns will win 13 and Memphis will win 12.

    Suns final record: 47-35; Memphis: 45-37. Regardless of how well other teams play, this would put the Suns in the playoffs.

    By then, Bledsoe will be healthy and back in the groove. Will that give the Suns a chance to beat OKC? Highly doubtful. But it could make for an entertaining series and raise hopes for next year.

  • DZ

    vtsunrise, I’d say that however the Suns do in the playoffs and/or the rest of this season depends a lot on Bledsoe but not totally. Plumlee needs to return to his early season form and Green, Frye and Markieff Morris need to play at a consistently high level.

    But I love this team even if they don’t make the playoffs this year or are a one-and-done team in the playoffs.

  • EBJM

    I agree Smovich! I think Hornacek should bust out his new rotations tonight!


    2nd Unit:

  • EBJM

    DZ I was confused about the DPE. I thought it allowed for a team to keep sixteen players by using it on an injured player.

    So my question would be why didn’t the Suns simply waive Okafor? The trade deadline has passed so his contract doesn’t have any value to them anymore and he will be a free agent this summer.

    Just something that makes you go hmmmmm….

    Do the Suns still value Okafor enough they wanted to try and re-sign him this summer?

  • Anonymous

    This is a must win for the suns tonight. With golden state losing, and dallas possibly losing to San Antonio, this is their chance to catch up.

  • Al

    It would be great to see Bledsoe back for the Clilppers game on Tuesday. Coming back to play against the team that you were injured in.

  • DZ

    EBJM, I’ve been trying to figure out why the Suns waived Slava instead of Okafor and, although I haven’t found anything so far, I can only assume that it must have something to do with Okafor’s contract being insured. Perhaps if the Suns waived him the insurance would have been voided and the Suns would have been on the hook for all of his salary??? I don’t know anything for sure but that’s the only reason I can think of for them waiving Slava instead of Okafor to make room for Randolph.

    Or perhaps the reason is simply that by retaining Okafor’s contract the Suns have some hope of doing a sign and trade deal for him in the off-season.

  • DZ

    Toronto just did us a favor by beating GS. If we win tonight that puts us only 1/2 game behind GS and Dallas and 1 1/2 games ahead of Memphis.

  • EBJM

    DZ, the insurance answer makes sense.

  • Anonymous

    Big win

  • EBJM

    Shavlik > Frye

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