What: The Phoenix Suns vs the Los Angeles Clippers
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena: Phoenix, AZ
When: 8:30 PM Arizona Time / 10:30 PM Eastern
Watch: Fox Sports AZ (Locally) / League Pass
The Phoenix Suns (3-4) are playing at home tonight against a good Los Angeles Clippers (5-3) team, who is coming off a a tough road loss to the Dallas Mavericks last night, in what had the feel of a revenge game with DeAndre Jordan as the target, in his first return to Dallas since agreeing to sign with the Mavs as a free agent, then waffling, and ultimately spurning them this off-season.
This is the second time in the young NBA season that Phoenix has faced the other team in L.A., having lost a relatively close game to the Clippers on the road in their first match-up, thanks in great part to a disastrous second quarter that saw the Suns lose an eight-point first quarter lead and dig a hole that they fought the rest of the game trying to dig back out of.
If nothing else, the Suns showed they can definitely play with the Clippers, and at times looked like the better team. However, the Suns have been plagued by inconsistency thus far, as players vary greatly from one game to the next, so it's difficult to know just which version of the Suns is going to be playing.
So far, the Suns have looked mostly mediocre. But this team had hopes of being much more than that. If they are going to reach their potential, they need to start winning games against quality opponents. Tonight would be a good time to start.
Eric Bledsoe vs. Chris Paul
Brandon Knight vs. J.J. Reddick
P.J. Tucker vs. Lance Stephenson
Markieff Morris vs. Blake Griffin
Tyson Chandler vs. DeAndre Jordan
Keys to Winning
- Turnover a new leaf: One of the biggest issues we've seen with the Suns so far this season has been their inability to take care of the ball. The guards specifically (and Brandon Knight especially) have struggled making the right passes in traffic, or playing sloppily at times allowing the other team to get takeaways and easy baskets on the other end. The Suns simply have to put an emphasis on limiting turnovers in order to start playing like one of the top eight teams in the West.
- Know your role: One of the other issues I've seen at times are player not contributing by doing what they do best, and instead, playing out of their comfort zone. For instance, we don't need Markieff shooting a bunch of threes and we don't need Alex Len taking contested 15-foot jump shots. We need to make the most of each possession by playing to the strengths of the players on the court. We need Bledsoe attacking the basket. We need Warren cutting through the paint and scoring. We need Chandler and Len grabbing rebounds and playing tough interior defense. The Suns as a whole need to play to their strengths against a very talented Clippers team.
- Be aggressive: Normally this saying is reserved for offense, and I certainly intend it to be here as well. However, the Suns need to be just as energetic and aggressive on defense. When the Suns are getting stops and forcing turnovers, it opens up their offense and leads to fast breaks, and-ones, and easy baskets on the other end. The Suns need to play fast and furious, come out with energy, and maintain it for 48 minutes tonight to get his win.
This is the perfect time for the Suns to out-shine a tired Clippers team coming off a loss last night in Dallas. That game went down to the wire for the Clippers, and most of their starters played big minutes. The Suns, on the other hand, are very well rested having not played since Sunday. Phoenix has very good depth with their young and talented bench, and tonight would be a great time to prove it by outlasting the Clippers in a home game that would boost morale in the locker room, as well as the confidence of the fans.
Suns win! 108-99