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Game Preview: Phoenix Suns stumble into New Orleans as Pelicans fight for playoff position

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans really need this win to stay in the playoff picture, while the Phoenix Suns may or may not care enough to spoil NOLA's fun.

The awesome thing about the Phoenix Suns is that it's just as possible they sleepwalk through a 20-loss as it is they go all out in an effort to beat the Pelicans. But the Suns have only beaten ONE winning team on the road since the All-Star break versus SIX losses.

Winning this game would get the Suns one step closer to a non-losing record on the season. Does that mean anything to these guys? Will they rally around each other to finish the season strong?

Who knows.


  • What: Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • When: 5:00pm
  • TV: FoxSports Arizona
  • Radio: 620 AM, ESPN Phoenix

The Pelicans

After what seemed like wasting Anthony Davis' rookie contract years with losing teams, the Pelicans have found a winning formula these past few months and have now become this year's Phoenix Suns.

They might make the playoffs (currently tied for 8th) or they might just miss out, barely. Yet, they don't look any more like a 50+ win team in future years than the Suns did last year. Some folks will convince themselves that all you need is AD to be a perennial playoff team, but a young Kevin Garnett would likely have a story to tell you. Just like the Suns did, the Pellies will need an upgrade in talent to sustain their winning ways. Year two is always harder than year one of winning.

Okay, okay, I'll pull off the wet blanket now. The Pelicans are a great story this season. They might even force their way into the playoffs, and just beat the #1 seed Golden State the other night to prove they can compete.

They are led by the mercurial Anthony Davis, with their second-best player being Tyreke Evans (the 6'6" Eric Bledsoe). They can play with anyone, and can lose to anyone, including the Suns two weeks ago in one of the ugliest games of the year.

Check out more on the Pelicans at our SB Nation brother site The Bird Writes

The Suns

Coach Hornacek has no idea which team he's going to get on a nightly basis. I've asked him that question prior to most home games since he's taken over the job, and he's not once known exactly what level of effort he would get.

He expected a focused team two weeks ago against the Kings, but didn't get it. Yet for the second consecutive week, they showed big effort on national TV on the second night of a back-to-back against a playoff team, only to come up just short. Imagine if the Suns had shown that kind of effort earlier in the year on the second night of b2bs?

He's been begging for veteran leadership on the team for two years now, and tried to coax some maturity and consistency out of a team that has never seen the need for it.

Now the Suns find themselves on the Titanic, grabbing for any handhold as they slide down the tilting deck. These Suns are not the band, who stayed together until the bitter end, shutting out all the fear and screams as they played their calming music. These Suns are not Jack and Rose (although Rose did eventually refuse to make room for Jack on the floating door). These Suns are just like the rest of them - clinging at anything to climb away from the water, even if it means using your friend's head at a foothold.

Outside the chaos, they're all going in the water. How they get there is just noise.

It will be months until we see who survives.

The Lineups


Out on a limb

Gee, wouldn't it be nice to predict the Suns will rally together as a family to finish the season strong and hit the summer on a high note despite the turmoil?

LOL. More likely, we are just scratching the surface of finger pointing.

I'll go out on a limb and predict Gerald Green will shoot something like 2-14 tonight because even when he was going hot and heavy last year, he rarely put back-to-back good shooting performances together.

I'll also go out on a limb and say the Morris twins will have good games, as will T.J. Warren. They've been quiet lately, so of course it's about that time to show up strong.

My final out-on-a-limb is that the King Cake Baby has a bigger smile than any Suns player will have over the next week.


Interested in playing Daily Fantasy Basketball with the chance to win money? Sign up for FanDuel here! You can bet on Eric Bledsoe or Gerald Green filling the stat sheet for the Suns, but the best bet is Anthony Davis, of course, who puts up monster numbers every night.


Frankly, it's worth it to tune into this game simply BECAUSE you have no idea which Suns team will show up.

If you missed either of the Warriors or Mavericks games, you missed some really fun basketball to watch. I liked the little-engine-that-almost-could both nights. Yet if you watched the Atlanta game, you saw the team we all hate to see.

Tune in. Expect the worst, but be open to the best.

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