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Gameday Open Thread: Suns vs. Clippers

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10-2 6-4
7:00 PM Mountain / 9:00 PM Eastern
TV: FSN AZ HD, NBA League Pass
Probable starters:
Steve Nash PG Sam Cassell
Raja Bell SG Quinton Ross
Grant Hill SF Ruben Patterson
Shawn Marion PF Tim Thomas
Amare Stoudemire C Chris Kaman

The Suns will take on the Clippers at home tonight. They won't see Elton Brand, but they will see an old friend from the 2005-06 season. Tim Thomas, who saved the Suns from a first round elimination by nailing a buzzer-beating three-pointer against the Lakers has moved into the Clippers' starting lineup as his team deals with a variety of injuries to several players. The most damaging injury, of course, is that of Elton Brand, which puts Thomas in a similar situation to what he had in Phoenix--being part of a team that's trying to make do while waiting for its leading scorer to return to the lineup in the second half of the season. The Clippers have been surprisingly good so far, given their situation. They are coming off of a nice win over the Nuggets, and currently sit at 6-4, tied in the loss column with the Lakers. For more about this game from the Clippers' perspective, read ClipperSteve's excellent, in depth preview at Clips Nation.

According to Paul Coro's latest blog entry, Raja Bell will be back in the lineup for the Suns tonight, barring a last-minute change. He will start, but his playing time may be limited. And for anyone wondering what happened to Eric Piatkowski's playing time in the previous game--or his shot the game before--perhaps this explains it:

"The Suns athletic trainers would prefer that Eric Piatkowski (right shoulder strain) sit out another game."

For the Suns, the main key is to not take the Clippers too lightly. This is a team that's been sneaking up on people, so it's important that the Suns lay down the law in "their house" from the get-go. A repeat of the previous Suns home game would do nicely.

I'll be on for live blogging tonight, so check back during the game for running commentary, and of course, after the game for the usual recap. In the meantime, here's a replay of another buzzer-beating three-pointer from the 2006 playoffs:

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