Mar 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) is greeted by teammates after the Suns defeated the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. The Suns defeated the Hawks 102-95. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Suns face Grizz in must-win game

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Dec 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Phoenix Suns shooting guard Goran Dragic (1) handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos (41) during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 110 - 91. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Phoenix Suns shooting guard Goran Dragic (1) handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos (41) during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 110 – 91. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns dropped a huge game against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night – a game that will haunt the Suns if they fail to make the postseason after coming so close. Dragić, who was playing on an injured ankle had a terrible game, shooting just 3 for 10 from the field and 0 for 3 from beyond the arc. The Suns failed to protect the ball and turned it over 18 times against the Mavs.

The 47-33 Suns host the 48-32 Memphis Grizzlies in a must-win game for the Suns. The Grizzlies have dominated the Suns this season, winning all three of the games in their series. But the Suns are now in a do or die situation; if they lose they’re on the outside looking in for the playoffs. The Grizzlies on the other hand have had two easy wins coming into this game and have had an easy time against the Suns this season.

Key Matchup:

Plumlee/Frye versus Gasol/Randolph.  This game will come down to the fast-break style of the Suns versus the half-court grind of the Grizzlies. The game will be won in the paint so the Suns should be prepared to get physical with Gasol and Randolph. Gasol is averaging 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his last 10 games while Randolph is averaging 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in the same 10-game stretch.

Key stat:

Turnovers. In another test of their ability to protect the ball the Suns will need to limit those turnovers against a team that can make them pay in the grind-it-out kind of way that swallows up the clock and bruises in easy baskets. The Suns gave the ball away 18 different times against the Mavs Saturday night and will definitely need to limit those turnovers in this must-win game.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

3-Pointers. The Suns will need to shoot early and often if they hope to play their game and avoid playing a slowed down game against the Grizzlies. The Suns shot close to 47 percent Saturday night in their loss against the Mavs and will need to continue that sharp-shooting Monday night.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

The Bigs. The Suns will have their hands full against the duo of Gasol and Randolph and will need to find a way to harass them and force the ball out of their hands. If the Suns let Randolph and Gasol establish the inside game it might be lights out for the Suns.

Grizzlies sleeper to have a good game:

Mike Miller. Miller is dangerous if left alone and with the Suns focused on the inside game they might forget about the sharpshooter. The Suns will need to keep an eye on him.

 

Prediction: The Suns lose 98-106.

 

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Tags: Basketball Channing Frye Goran Dragic Miles Plumlee Suns Suns Vs Grizzlies

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