Last night the Phoenix Suns lost a very winnable game at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-90. Tonight, they will look to redeem themselves against another beatable opponent at home when they take on the New Jersey Nets at 7pm MST.
This will be the last home game and final opportunity for the Suns to begin to right the ship before entering into a brutal five-in-a-row away game stretch against some very tough opponents. Will Steve Nash be ready to lead the team to victory after playing 35 minutes last night? Can Michael Redd's legs already withstand a back-to-back after a very nice first game in a Suns uniform? Will Grant Hill be ready to contribute after a sore quadriceps muscle limited him to just 7 minutes and 0 points against the Cavs?
Read on for a full analysis of tonight's match-up.
Brief Overview of the Nets:
- The Nets have lost three straight games and their current record is 2-9
- Brook Lopez is still not playing due to a stress fracture in his right foot
- Deron Williams leads the team in scoring (16.9) and assists (8.2)
- Rookie Marshon Brooks is off to a great start averaging 14 points a game
Brief Overview of the Suns:
- The Suns have lost two games in a row and their current record is 4-6
- Rookie Markieff Morris continues to impress with his all-around game...currently averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in only 21.6 minutes a game
- Marcin Gortat leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game
- Grant Hill is recovering from a bruised quadriceps muscle in his right leg that limited him against the Cavs
Key to the Game:
The last two games that the Suns have lost they have also lost the rebounding battle, and if they are hoping to change things tonight I believe it will start on the glass.
Aside from Kris Humphries who has been playing very well in his post-Kardashian career, the Nets don't have another player averaging more than 5 rebounds a game. the Nets are averaging 39.8 rebounds a game while the Suns are averaging 42.1. While this certainly isn't a huge advantage, it shows that the Suns are more than capable of winning in this category tonight.
While Gortat has been playing very well, some have noticed that he doesn't box out as consistently as he should and sometimes loses the rebound because of it. Still, Gortat has been averaging a respectable 7.3 rebounds a game, and if he can get some help from players like Frye, Morris, Lopez, and Dudley who have also been pretty good in this department, then the Suns should be able to win the battle of the boards tonight.
- Steve Nash vs. Deron Williams - it's not often that Steve Nash goes up against an opposing point guard who is as skilled as he is in both scoring and passing, but Deron Williams is the exception. Williams is currently averaging 16.9 points and 8.2 assists while Nash is averaging 12.5 points and 10.1 assists. Will Nash be ready to go after playing extended minutes last night? The advantage here is that Nash doesn't have to lead the team in scoring while Williams must do it all. If the Suns can shut down, or at least slow down Williams, they should win.
- Marcin Gortat/Robin Lopez vs. Mehmet Okur/Johan Petro - Okur has been coming off a back injury and may or may not start tonight. However, you can expect Okur to get the bulk of the minutes at the Center position while alternating with Johan Petro. Either way, Gortat and Lopez should be able to win their match-ups inside and this should be an area that the Suns exploit to help them win this game.
- Channing Frye vs. Kris Humphries - Humphries has been playing at a very high level again this season while Frye has been inconsistent. One area that Frye has improved on is his rebounding, and he will need to continue to do this tonight against the former Mr. Kardashian who is averaging 10.4 rebounds a game.
- Suns Bench vs. Nets Bench - The Suns bench has been playing very well this season thanks to Markieff Morris, Hakim Warrick, and now Michael Redd, while the Nets have received quality minutes from the likes of Jordan Farmar and Deshawn Stevenson. The Suns definitely have the advantage here with their depth, they just need more consistency from their back-up point guards and their wings...hopefully they get it tonight.
To sum it up, the Suns need this win...both as a confidence boost for this team and as a home game they need to win before embarking on a five game road trip. No excuses, jut win!
Other Game Day Links:
Nets vs Suns coverage