Preview: Phoenix Suns (38-29) vs. Orlando Magic (19-49)

Time: 7 p.m. MST




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The Suns host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night for the teams’ second and final match-up of the season. In November, the Suns pulled out an eight-point victory thanks to Goran Dragic’s strong finish, when he scored the final seven points of the game to clinch the win. Tonight should not be as close of a game.

Orlando is the worst team in basketball on the road, posting a putrid 4-31 record. The Magic are coming off a 14-point loss last night in Golden State and did not get into Phoenix until early this morning. This gives the Suns an added advantage over a team that they should not have many problems against.

Then again, teams have been scoring at will against the Suns defense in the last 13 games. According to Paul Coro, the Suns have allowed a league worst 49.8 percent during that span. That all culminated on Monday night when the Brooklyn Nets shot an impressive 58.6 percent from the field, the highest field goal percentage shot by an opponent in Suns history.

The Magic are among the bottom five in the league in scoring and are one of the teams that a doctor would prescribe the Suns to play to fix that ailing defense, though, the Suns must be careful to not overlook a struggling team.

“From this point on we need to take it a game at a time,” Suns guard Eric Bledsoe said. “Orlando is better than their record, they have good talent on their team and they are better than their record says it is.”

Here are some things to look out for in tonight’s game.

Do the Suns come out with the first punch?

At this point of the season, struggling teams will most likely quit if they are punched in the mouth early. The Magic have nothing to play for and are coming off a late game the night before. If the Suns can jump them early and build a double-digit lead in the first quarter, it could mean an easy night at U.S. Airways Center. Easier said than done considering Phoenix has often struggled to get out of the gates quickly.

Does Bledsoe push the ball more?

Bledsoe has gone back to being the guard that brings up the ball the majority of the time when he is on the court. Suns coach Jeff Hornacek is glad to see him back at full strength, but wants him to try and be even more aggressive on offense.

“He has done fine,” Hornacek said. “He still has the quickness and explosiveness, but we want him to push the ball even more and get easy buckets in transition.”

The 6-foot-1 guard has been at his best when he uses his quickness and is aggressive in taking the ball to the basket. One of the few parts of his game that has been slow to return is his jump shot. Bledsoe is just 2-for-12 from the three point line and is shooting under 40 percent from the field since returning from injury.

“I just have to keep playing through it,” Bledsoe said. “Right now, it is not about my shot, it is about us winning.”

How do the young guys play?

This refers to the rookies, Archie Goodwin and Alex Len. Both of them had nice games on the road trip — Len in Boston and Goodwin in Brooklyn — and Wednesday should be another night for at least one of them to shine. If the Suns can race out to a big lead it could provide ample time for the young guys to continue to progress on the court.

And 1

Eric Bledsoe said that he is coming for Warren Buffet’s $1 billion dollar challenge for the perfect March Madness bracket. So which team is he banking on to win it all? That is an obvious choice for him: Kentucky.

Tags: Eric Bledsoe Jeff Hornacek Orlando Magic Phoenix Suns

  • Dave:f32

    Suns win by 50 points. I suggest you take the over on that spread. Place your bets lol

  • Brenton

    After the way they played in Brooklyn, I would not bet on the Suns again this season. What a pathetic showing that was.

    Still, this is a must win for the Suns, so I expect them to bring the energy and put this game away early.

  • hawki

    I have the 3rd seeded Suns beating the 14th seeded Magic in the West Region of my Bracket.

  • Dave:f32

    I actually have the Arizona Wildcats beating the Suns in the Sweet Seisteen! Lol

  • sunsn7

    P L A Y

    G O O D W I N

    A N D

    L E N !

  • sunsn7

    M A S S A C R E

    T H E

    M A G I C !

  • EBJM

    Brenton, that was because Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry have been saving their old legs for the end of the season just the way Dave:f32 predicted months ago and were fresh enough to blow the younger Suns right off the court!

    We also should have listened to him that he knew Paul Pierce’s best position is actually PF because at age 36 he is way too slow to play SF anymore!

    That he knew Shaun Livingston, despite playing for seven different teams since blowing out his knee, was going to become more valuable than Jason Terry.

    But I saved the best for last! He is truly incredible to have the foresight to have realized the Nets would be so much better if Brook Lopez broke a bone in his foot and would be replaced by a rookie selected with the 22nd pick!

    Funny thing though is that Mason was averaging only 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in the five previous games before exploding on his hapless big brother Miles while Brook is considered THE BEST offensive center in the league today.

    So lets summarize! The old guys I was referring to, Garnett, Pierce and Terry, only Pierce was playing and Terry sucked so bad he was TRADED!

    Pierce sucks so badly but combined with the general lack of talent on the Nets he is forced to play PF because he is too OLD and SLOW to compete with starting SFs!

    So the Nets caught a tired Suns team on the 3rd game of their road trip and won behind 28 point by Deron Williams, double his season average.

    Despite this MIRACULOUS TURNAROUND the Nets are only three games over .500 and sitting at the 5th spot in the ultra-weak Eastern conference where the 7th and 8th place playoff teams have losing records!

    My God who could I have doubted you Dave:f23?


    What that really means is that you are still wrong but since you are counting, you are WRONG THRICE!

  • sunsn7

    Goodwin and Len sparking the Suns early. Would like to see Len relax more offensively but that’s gonna come around. Like his overall aggressiveness and outlet passes off the rebound.

    Archie always plays well when given the opportunity. He is a HUGE reason why the Suns future is bright..just hope the Suns dont drop THIS game

  • Dave:f32

    Thanks for the props EBJM! Have nothing but love for ya my friend. I can never hear enough just how right i am lol ;)

    Magic Suns tied at the half? How can this be?!

  • brenton

    Len playing better, I’ll admit. He still is a bust, but at least he is productive against the magic. Suns at home against a lottery team in a must win and its tied at the half… Well, let’s hope the 1 in 1000 chance happens and we get Wiggins.

  • Dave:f32

    Julius Randle.) btw TWolves just beat the Mavs so Suns gotta contend with them too for the 8th seed

  • brenton

    Suns finally pulling away.

  • sunsn7

    Gerald Green and Goran Dragic blew the game open..

    Alex Len, Archie Goodwin with solid showings in limited minutes..especially Len. Keep it up young men!

    Suns games are so much more enjoyable when we get to see young building blocks for the Suns future, get meaningful minutes in Suns games, win or lose.

  • sunsn7

    Thank you Coach Hornacek. Look forward to seeing more contributions from our rookies as the season heads down the stretch.

    Perhaps it’ll help keep veteran legs that much fresher..not to mention the infusion of on-court enthusiasm.

    On to the next…

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