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Game Preview: Phoenix Suns (14-14) @ Washington Wizards (17-6), 4:00PM AZ Time

John Wall is beasting and feasting in the east this season.
John Wall is beasting and feasting in the east this season.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C

When: 4:00 PM, AZ Time

Watch/Listen: Fox Sports-AZ, ESPN Phoenix 620 AM

After eluding the hapless New York Knicks yesterday afternoon, the Phoenix Suns plow straight into the literal and figurative brick Wall that is the Washington Wizards.  In years past, that might have been an ironic sentence, but this season the Wiz are stonewalling opponents in the nation's capital.  Their home record is a stellar 13-2 and they haven't lost there since November 25.  Meanwhile, Phoenix will be looking to win their third in a row after slowly reclaiming their mojo with back-to-back wins.

Phoenix Suns Washington Wizards
G - Eric Bledsoe G - John Wall
G - Goran Dragić G - Bradley Beal
F - P.J. Tucker F - Paul Pierce
F - Markieff Morris F - Kris Humphries
C - Alex Len C - Marcin Gortat

The Wizards

Want to see what the Phoenix Suns hope to look like in the near future?  Well, then tune in for today's game against the Washington Wizards.  Since cratering in the 2008-2009 season with and abysmal 19-63 record, the Wizards have used lottery picks, savvy trades and a new coach to re-build into an Eastern Conference powerhouse.  Any of that sound familiar?  With a record of 17-6, they own the best record in the Southeast Division and the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

They've gotten their wins with stellar defense (4th in DRtg in the NBA) and above average offense (12th in the NBA, a notch below the Suns).  Additionally, point guard John Wall is playing like a beast. He was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played December 8th-14th, during which he averaged 18.3 points, 11.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting .542 from the field and .500 from three-point range.  So, the Wiz got that going for them.

The Suns

Everyone seems to know what's good for the Phoenix Suns except apparently, the Phoenix Suns.  "Give the ball to Dragić!  Trade Isaiah Thomas for a big man!  Give more minutes to T.J. Warren!"  If Jeff Hornacek, Ryan McDonough, Lon Babby and the players (especially the players!) would just listen to our commenters, the Suns would be cruising (cruising, I tell you!) to a Pacific Division banner.

But since they are stubbornly sticking to their game plan, here's where we're at: Phoenix has won their last two consecutive games, but prior to that had dropped six in a row to some bad, bad competition.  Consistency has been a hobgoblin for this squad and they will need to find some tonight if they hope to get out of Washington with a win.

On paper, the Suns have a balanced attack with a "Big 5" of Bledsoe, Dragić, Isaiah Thomas, Markieff Morris, and Gerald green all averaging between 14 and 16 points per game.  But that balance has yet to translate into a consistent offensive hallmark, and instead reflects each of those players vacillating between good and bad on any given night.

The Summary

In my eyes, the Washington Wizards are overwhelming favorites here.  Phoenix is playing on the second day of a back-to-back.  Their record is a putrid 1-6 when playing on zero days rest.  They are struggling against good teams and they are struggling against bad teams.  The Washington Wizards are a very, very good team and Phoenix will have to play a consistent 48 minutes to beat them and even that may not be enough.

I'm going with the Wizards here, 105-96.  Tell me why I'm wrong in the comments!

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