What: Phoenix Suns (22-17) at Memphis Grizzlies (25-11)
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
When: 4:00PM MST
Watch/Listen: Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM
Aside from the occasional 10 point 4th-quarter collapse exacerbated by dumb technical fouls, the Phoenix Suns are doing pretty well these days. Phoenix has won 10 of their last 13 games and have the chance to go 3-1 on this road trip with a victory in Memphis tonight. New Sun Brandan Wright will make his debut tonight. Wright was acquired in a trade with the Boston Celtics that only cost them Minnesota's conditional first round pick.
While the Phoenix Suns' season is headed in the right direction, the Memphis Grizzlies have struggled of late, losing 3 of their last 4 games. During that 4-game stretch, the Grizz have averaged a paltry 92.8 points per game, nearly 9 points fewer than their season average (101.2). Memphis is also alleged to be a beneficiary of the Beantown fire sale, but will not be able to complete their acquisition of the Celtics' Jeff Green until league offices open on Monday. Advantage: McDonough.
If you've been paying any attention to Phoenix Suns basketball, then your pessimism about today's contest is probably off the charts. Phoenix is 2-7 in games against Memphis going back to the 2012-13 season, including losses in their last 5 face-offs. The Grizzlies have been the Suns' bogeymen.
There's no surprise to how Memphis has managed to dominate Phoenix so thoroughly: slow the game down and let big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol beat up on the Suns' inferior big men. Of course, that was pre-Lensanity. Phoenix finally has a legitimate 7-footer to put on the defensive block against Gasol and Randolph, and the addition of 6-10 Brandan Wright won't hurt down low either.
Key to Victory
Run Memphis into the Ground! If the Suns can control the tempo of the game, they stand a far better chance of winning than playing at Memphis' grinding pace. Phoenix is the 3rd fastest team in the NBA, Memphis is the 4th slowest. If Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas can get Phoenix's running game going, it will help their chances of imposing their will in all facets of the contest.
Prediction: The worm turns for Phoenix and they end their 5-game skid against Memphis, 102-98.