Time: 5:30 pm
TV: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: 98.7 FM
Welcome to another installment of 31sts with Deadpoolio. I am Deadpoolio, here with you on a beautiful Nov. 31st here in Phoenix, although I hear some people have taken to calling today Dec. 1st. Scoundrels, all of them. Anyway, I guess I didn't screw up too badly the first time I was left in charge because I'm being allowed to cover another game — and yet Dave still doesn't trust me to feed the BSOTS hamster over weekends. Go figure. Well, let's get down to business.
The 8-9 Phoenix Suns, coming off a win in Toronto that snapped a four-game losing streak, head to Brooklyn this evening to take on the 4-13 Nets in the second game of their season-long six-game road trip.
The Nets are coming off an 87-83 home win on Sunday over the Detroit Pistons that snapped a two-game losing streak. However, Brooklyn still finds itself with the 2nd-worst record in the Eastern Conference this season after undergoing a roster overhaul this past summer.
Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, and Mason Plumlee are all gone from last year's playoff squad, as are current Suns Mirza Teletovic and Cory Jefferson. In their place is a core of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, and Jarrett Jack. Second-year forward Bojan Bogdanovic and rookie (and former U of A standout) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also play big minutes for the Nets while they learn the NBA ropes. Andrea Bargnani was hoping to bounce back from recent disappointing seasons with the Knicks when he signed with Brooklyn, but he has been disappointing again this season.
Points: Brook Lopez (19.9)
Rebounds: Thaddeus Young (8.7)
Assists: Jarrett Jack (7.1)
The Suns got the road trip off to a good start by beating the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Now they need to carry that momentum over into today's game against Brooklyn and tomorrow's game against Detroit.
The Suns bench covered for the starters against the Raptors, scoring 51 points on 55.5-percent shooting. Mirza Teletovic continued his resurgence with 20 points on 6 of 7 shooting from 3 while T.J. Warren (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Jon Leuer (16 points) turned in performances that are becoming routine. Meanwhile, Eric Bledsoe's hand remains steady as he turned in his 12th 20-point game of the season and came up with a huge block of Luis Scola at the end of Phoenix's last game to seal the victory.
Points: Eric Bledsoe (22.6)
Rebounds: Tyson Chandler (8.8)
Assists: Eric Bledsoe (6.3)
Tyson Chandler (Suns) — right hamstring strain (QUESTIONABLE)
Andrea Bargnani (Nets) — left hamstring tightness (OUT)
Chris McCullough (Nets) — torn right ACL in knee (OUT)
Willie Reed (Nets) — torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb (OUT)
Brooklyn's defense this season has surrendered 102.6 points and allowed opponents to make 9.8 3-pointers per game. That bodes well for a Suns team that ranks second in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game (10.3) and third in 3-point percentage (.393). The Nets do themselves no favors offensively, either, as they score just 95.8 points per game and rank dead last in the NBA for 3-point percentage (.297), with just 4.8 makes per game.
However, the Nets are fifth-best in the NBA at not sending opponents to the free throw line, as their opponents average 20.9 attempts per game. That will be an interesting battle to watch, as Phoenix averages 23.4 attempts per game, spearheaded by Eric Bledsoe, who is 15th in the league at going to the charity stripe, averaging 6.3 attempts per game and is coming off a game where he made 9 of 11.
The Suns will need to avoid looking past this Nets team if they want to move to 2-0 on this road trip. Brooklyn is on a three-game winning streak at Barclays Center and are allowing just 99 points at home.
Brook Lopez vs. Alex Len
With Chandler questionable due to his hamstring strain, the onus will fall to Len to limit Lopez's effectiveness. The Nets run much of their offense through their franchise center, so Len will get his shot to show what he has absorbed defensively from Chandler. Len must keep Lopez from getting deep position, make him work for his shots, and stay out of foul trouble. If he can do that, the Suns will be in good shape. If he can make Lopez work on defense as well, even better.
- The Suns lead the all-time series with the Nets 44-36 and are 35-17 when scoring 100+ points.
- The 161-157 win over the New Jersey Nets in double-OT on Dec. 7, 2006 still ranks as the second-highest scoring game by Phoenix in team history and is the highest combined score (318 points) in team history.
All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com.