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Game Preview: Phoenix Suns (7-4) set to take on surging Memphis Grizzlies (6-6)

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It’s been a week since Phoenix’s last game, and despite some hectic protocols last night from Memphis it looks like all signs point towards this game being played.

Phoenix Suns v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (7-4) @ Memphis Grizzlies (6-6)

When: 3:00 p.m. MST

Where: FedExForum

Watch: TNT, FSAZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

Spread: Suns -3


The Memphis Grizzlies have now won 4 straight games and Ja Morant has made his return from a brutal looking ankle injury earlier in the season as the Grizzlies look to push back into the playoff picture after a slow start.

The elephant in the room is loud and clear at this point though, as the uncertainty on whether or not this game is actually played looks to be in jeopardy after the 76ers game was postponed the day after a game versus Memphis.

Along with that, Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas has entered the league’s health and safety protocol.

Memphis also released their injury report for the game Sunday evening. It will be interesting to track if there are any late scratches due to contact tracing. The league has canceled games right before tipoff a few times already so just because they are planning on playing the game at the moment does not ensure it will actually happen.


Probable Starters

Suns: Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Jae Crowder — Deandre Ayton

Grizzlies: Ja Morant — Dillon Brooks — Kyle Anderson — Brandon Clarke — Xavier Tillman

Matchup of the game:

Deandre Ayton versus Xavier Tillman.

Ayton should be in a great position to have a bounce-back game with Valanciunas out since Memphis will likely be relying on rookie Xavier Tillman and Gorgui Dieng likely taking up most of the center minutes. This is the perfect type of opponent for Ayton to establish himself early on and dominate throughout against a depleted Memphis front court. Ayton will be the key to the game with Saric, Jones and Smith out. We’ll likely see some Frank Kaminsky minutes and possibly even Crowder playing the 5 because of how depleted their front court is.

Suns Injury Report

Dario Saric OUT (health and safety protocols)

Damian Jones OUT (health and safety protocols)

Jalen Smith OUT (health and safety protocols)

Cameron Payne QUESTIONABLE (ankle)


In Morant’s return to action in a win over Philadelphia he posted 17 points and 6 assists in 31 minutes. Memphis has won 4 straight games and with Morant back in the fold they feel a real sense of momentum towards making a playoff push as they get healthy. This will be a good test for a Phoenix team that has had a week long break, as they play on the national spotlight on TNT for the MLK Day triple header.

Gambo update:

The situation is fluid and there will likely be another round of tests before the game, so while they aren’t entirely out of the woods yet it does seem like all intentions are for this game to be played as things stand.


Prediction

Suns- 113 — Grizzlies 109

This is a tough game to make a prediction for given the week long hiatus for Phoenix with rust factored in. Along with that— Dario Saric, Jalen Smith, and Damian Jones are all out and Cameron Payne being listed as questionable so they will not only need to shake off rust, but battle depth issues as well.