When: 7:30 pm AZ time
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
TV: FoxSports Arizona
Radio: 98.7 FM ArizonaSports
The Washington Wizards playoff hopes are dangling loosely in the air, on the verge of being snuffed completely. The Wizards are three full games out of the eighth playoff seed with only seven to go. To keep any semblance of hope alive, they need a win just to get a good taste back into their mouths.
Enter the lowly Phoenix Suns. The 20-55 Suns are about to clinch the second-worst record in franchise history this month, and are currently on their sixth losing streak of at least four games this season. The Suns have already experienced losing streaks of 4, 4, 9, 6 and 13 games.
Tonight's game could bring a playoff atmosphere with a desperate Wizards team keeping their hopes alive against a vengeful Suns team trying to prove they are better off without Markieff Morris.
Or, it could be an ugly game between two teams already planning their summer vacations.
Wizards magic mirror into the past
You might feel strong sense of deja vu when looking at the Wizards tonight. Three of their top minutes-getters, including two starters, are former Suns players who last donned the orange and purple during what was previously the second-worst Suns team in franchise history (2012-13).
Marcin Gortat is still going strong and steady - a regular double-double machine with good defense and shot blocking skills and a bit of an offensive game.
Jared Dudley is in and out of the starting lineup, but has recovered his three-point shooting stroke (43%) we all remember from his heyday with the Suns.
And Markieff Morris is starting at power forward since he was traded to the Wizards in February.
The Wizards are led, of course, by John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall is a former #1 overall pick, while Beal went #3 overall himself. Both are 20-point threats with a variety of other offensive skills and good defense as well.
Wall, in particular, has been a nightly triple-double threat while trying to carry the Wizards to the playoffs for the third straight season, but it's been a losing cause.
Anyone but me notice that there has been zero negative drama around the Suns since the trade deadline? Anyone think that's not just a coincidence?
Boos and cat calls!!!
I will be highly disappointed if Markieff Morris is not mercilessly booed tonight. Not just in the starting lineup, but every time he catches the ball.
Cheer for the Polish Hammer. Cheer for Duds.
BOO MARKIEFF MORRIS
If Lakers fans can boo D'Angelo Russell every time he touches since he leaked a Nick Young cheating admission, the least Suns fans can do is boo the dude who brought so much negative drama to the team over the past 18 months.
If Suns fans can boo Joe Johnson TEN YEARS after he demanded a trade, the least you can do is boo Markieff Morris six weeks after.
If you don't have the stomach to boo Mark Morris, then maybe this article is for you.
The stomach bug has been running rampant through the home team, last hitting Mirza Teletovic enough to knock him out of the game against the Bucks the other night.
At this point, the only thing that matters is the loss.
The Suns, with 20 wins, are just one game ahead of the Nets (21 wins) with seven games to go. There's not a lot of difference in ping pong balls between the 3rd and 4th records, but 3rd is just more desirable and we all know it.
A Suns win over the Wizards, though, makes the Suns second lottery pick more likely to be as high as 12th.
As much as I'd like the Suns to win tonight, rather than give yet another former Sun a stage on which to dominate and celebrate all over the Suns butts, I really want the Suns to lose this game.
Let's predict perfection:
- 30 points from Booker, who outplays Beal
- A double-double from Alex Len, who outplays Marcin Gortat
- More points from P.J. Tucker than Jared Dudley
- 10 or fewer points from Markieff Morris
- John Wall leads late comeback for a Wizards close win