Tonight the Suns play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that so far looks vastly improved from last year's dismal 19-63 squad with the lowest efficiency differential (-9.3) in the league. The Cavs are now 4-5, however, and are coming to Phoenix having lost the last 3 of four games on the road.
The Suns have won the last 2 of three, with Tuesday's well-documented and lamented loss to the
Kobe-led Lakers the notable exception. The Suns look to bounce back against a Kyrie Irving and Antawn Jamison-led Cavs squad, who are allowing the least fast-break points in the league and are the definition of an okay team at 16th overall in efficiency differential.
The New Arrival
For Phoenix, a little lineup shakeup is in order with the arrival of Michael Redd, who has been working with the Suns training staff to get himself into "game shape". The Suns' need for a go-to and late-game scorer could be met in the low-risk acquisition of Redd, but only time will tell. He'll likely take a few minutes from Jared Dudley and more minutes from Shannon Brown as he finds his way onto the floor tonight.
Click the jump for some more tidbits.
A quick look at the Cavaliers shows some interesting (read: tough) matchups for the Suns. Top overall draft pick Kyrie Irving, who is quickly picking up this whole "NBA thing", presents a tough matchup for Steve Nash defensively. Steve has been known to torch rookie guards again and again on the offensive end, but he's also given up career high scoring numbers to young, strong point guards in the past. Ronnie Price could be extremely valuable in this regard, and we could see him coming in at SG to guard Irving.
Anderson Varejao has been strong as usual, posting career highs so far this season in both rebounding (10.2) and in scoring (9.4 ppg). Marcin Gortat, on the other hand, has been playing reliably well and should be able to handle Varejao with his recently healed finger injury.
After Tuesday's loss, expect the Suns to come out firing on all cylinders, with Nash continuing to distribute the ball effectively (understatement) and Markieff Morris continuing his MVP-candidate year (overstatement). We'll get our first look at Redd and see if Shannon Brown can improve his shot selection.
So far we've been able to beat the teams that deserve to be beaten. This would include the Cavs so let's do it again! Let's win.
See you all in the Game Threads!
GAME DAY LINKS
Phoenix Suns prepare for daunting road trip (AZ Central)