The Phoenix Suns battle the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night in a game that, despite what it may look like, is a must-win game for the Suns.
In the NBA, no game in early December is a must-win. But Monday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets is a must-win game for the Phoenix Suns. At least, it is as close to a must-win as it gets this early in the season.
The Suns have lost six of their last seven games, and all that winning mojo from the beginning of the year seems to have disappeared like a plate full of food on Thanksgiving day.
Moreover, the momentum the Suns had seems to have vanquished, and doubters of this team are in the early stages of penning their I-told-you-so memoirs.
A win over a very beatable Hornets team, who currently sit at 8-13, would do wonders to keeping these folks quiet for at least a little while longer.
But more importantly than silencing the many Phoenix Suns success deniers out there, the players need this to re-instill some confidence in themselves.
Granted, most of these players don’t lack for confidence at baseline, but after such a hot start, followed by a rough stretch of losses, human nature will make a man not walk with his shoulders resting not quite so far back.
One thing that should help with both the team’s confidence (as well as their actual gameplay) is the return of Aron Baynes.
Baynes missed five straight games with a hip flexor before returning against the Dallas Mavericks as the same three-point-draining beast he was when he left.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Baynes’ return wasn’t enough to surpass the fighting Luka Doncics. The coulda-woulda-shoulda-been-Sun dropped 42 on the team who passed on him in the 2018 draft, adding fuel to the Luka envy flames.
The Hornets don’t pose much of a threat down low, with Cody Zeller as their only true big man. Frank Kaminsky should match up well with him when he is in the game and Baynes eats players like Zeller for breakfast.
If the Suns were to lose to a team led by Terry Rozier, it will seriously damage their prospects of making the playoffs, although, many think they are still a playoff team now.
If the Suns can pull out a win, they will have a chance to get back-to-back wins on their East Coast road trip when they play the Orlando Magic Wednesday.