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Game Preview: Suns host Gentry, Brow and Pelicans on Bright Side Night

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Alvin Gentry comes back to town with Anthony Davis and the injury-ravaged New Orleans Pelicans to face the Phoenix Suns.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans

When: 6:30PM AZ Time

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: FoxSports Arizona


The New Orleans Pelicans, 2-4 on SEGABABA’s this year, come to Phoenix after getting blown out in L.A. last night, 133-105 at the hands of the Clippers.

The Pellies were resting Anthony Davis, so he will be ready and raring to go against the Suns in Phoenix. And given the Suns’ struggles this year against bad teams at home, we just might see Davis and the Pellies rise up to give Bright Siders another kick in the pants.

Bright Side is sending 1,200 kids to their first Suns game tonight, thanks to YOUR donations as well as those from wonderful people with the Suns like Jared Dudley, Earl Watson, former team president Lon Babby and a late 200-ticket kick-in by the Suns themselves.

Let’s make it 2-0 on Bright Side Nights and send those kids home happy!

The Pelicans (7-17 record, 13th in West)

I’m sure former Suns coach Alvin Gentry is excited about returning to the Valley for a basketball game.

Gentry brings one of the greatest players of this generation with him in forward/center Anthony Davis. Davis leads the league in scoring at 31.4 points per game while also grabbing 11.4 rebounds, blocking 2.8 shots and dishing 2.2 assists per game. He’s setting career highs in nearly every category.

If only the rest of his team wasn’t constantly ravaged by injuries, he might win some games. As it is, Gentry and the Brow are mired in year two of devastatingly bad results as the front office threatens to waste the best years of the Brow’s career.

You can’t blame the front office for injuries and off-court tragedies that take away from the roster. Tyreke Evans has no timetable for his return. Jrue Holiday has been injured or limited most of his NOP career, and now he’s dealing with turf toe after finally returning to the court a couple weeks ago. E’twan Moore, Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham are also injured.

What you can blame the front office for is what’s at Gentry and the Brow’s disposal. The FO knew Evans would be out an extended time. They knew Holiday is a constant injury concern.

Their best shot at building a roster this summer included overpaying for role players in Solomon Hill ($48 million over 4 years), Moore ($34 million over 4), and Langston Galloway ($10.6 million over 2), while drafting Buddy Hield. None of them are NBA-starter worthy.

The Pelicans rotation also boasts Tim Frazier, late of the D-League, and BSotS-god Terrence Jones, late of the unwanted free agent market. Both have been solid for the NOPs this year but neither is a long term answer.

Unfortunately, unless Buddy Hield becomes a starting caliber NBA shooting guard, the Pelicans are still searching for long-term answers around the Brow. Holiday is a free agent this summer, and if I’m the Pelicans I don’t commit huge money to a guy who’s rarely been healthy since my team acquired him three years ago.

Having said all that, I’m sure the Pelicans will come out like gangbusters tonight and make the Suns look like they are the team with no answers.

The Suns (7-16, 12th in the West)

The home team is actually favored in this game, which spells trouble for the young Suns who are not only 3-6 at home this year but 0-3 against teams many expected them to be able to beat.

The Suns have been bad at home when favored. Really bad. They got blown out at home by the Kings on opening night (who are 3-9 on the road otherwise). Then by the lowly Nets two weeks later (who are 0-9 on the road otherwise). Then they scored 10 points in the entire fourth quarter to blow a big lead against the Wolves (who are 2-9 on the road otherwise).

Those three teams are a combined 5-27 on the road when not visiting Talking Stick Resort Arena, but are 3-0 against the Suns.

Let’s hope the Suns treat this game like a big one, given that they do have exciting home wins against the playoff-bound Blazers (on Bledsoe’s buzzer beater in OT), Pistons and Hawks and had a late lead on the Warriors.

The Suns have finally figured out how to generate a high rate of three-pointers, which should be key for a young team. Or any NBA team these days, for that matter. They’re up to 28.5 three-point attempts per game this month versus 23 per game in November. Still only making about 34% of them, but the points-per-shot on threes makes it worth the effort.

T.J. Warren update

Per Paul Coro, the Suns won’t be playing Tony Buckets tonight. He needs to round back into shape first. He played some three-on-three yesterday during shootaround, but that’s it. Maybe later this week he will get into a game.

Key stat

In other notes on splits: the Suns are 0-4 on Sundays this year, but 5-7 on games with one day rest and 1-0 on Bright Side Nights.

Prediction

Unfortunately, given the Suns’ penchant for playing terribly at home against terrible teams, and factoring in their 0-4 record on Sundays this season, I don’t have a ton of hope for today’s game.

But it IS Bright Side Night. So why not?

Let’s. Go. Suns.

LET’S. GO. SUNS.