When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Watch: Bally Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
The Phoenix Suns look to bounce back after a heart breaking loss to the Sacramento Kings at the buzzer by hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers later tonight in Phoenix. On the night of Devin Booker’s 25th Birthday, his team is in need of strong performances all around to get back to their winning ways from last season.
As for the Cavs, they will look to bounce back from a hard fought loss to the Lakers last night on Staples Center, as they look to end their western road-trip on a positive note. The Cavaliers had a surprising week out west, as they beat both a strong Denver Nugget squad, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers, before allowing LeBron and the Lakers to comeback on the second half and take them down on a hard fought contest.
Projected Starting Lineups
- Chris Paul
- Devin Booker
- Mikal Bridges
- Jae Crowder
- Deandre Ayton
- Darius Garland
- Colin Sexton
- Evan Mobley
- Lauri Markkanen
- Jarret Allen
Dario Saric (out); Cameron Payne (out).
Isaac Okoro (out); Kevin Pangos (out).
Rodney Mott; Sean Corbin; Jonathan Sterling
The Suns come into tonight’s game 1-3 to start the season, and if there’s one thing we know about them is that they are definitely not happy about it. We understand it may be a bit too soon to hit the panic button (is it though?), but as Chris Paul will rush to tell you, this is not a team of losers. Coming out of a season where they rarely lost game is a row (let alone three), this is not a trend they will want to create this time around.
The reactions after last game speak for themselves. Even though they played a good game overall, their disastrous third quarter put them in a tight spot. They did not rest their heads on the fact that Harrison Barnes made a (very) difficult shot at the buzzer to beat them. Jae Crowder and the rest of team rightfully took the blame and recognized the borderline “unprofessional” quarter they had coming out of the break.
Under those circumstances, I doubt even Booker will be focusing too much on the fact that he will be celebrating his 25th birthday tonight. This is not the time for celebration. It’s time to get back on track - especially from the three-point line - and focus on the game, to take advantage of a positive situation and start climbing their way back to a winning record.
The Suns should be hungry for a win, and this Cleveland team should be a good team to face in that scenario. They are young, still finding their feet on this league and face the current western conference champions on the second night of a back-to-back, on the tail end of a difficult road trip. Still, they surprised some people by playing better than expected earlier than expected, and the Suns have not.
One thing to be on the look out is how Monty will react to a unorthodox Cleveland starting line-up. With Isaac Okoro out, J.B. Bickerstaff has been starting Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen and Jarret Allen on the front court, which should create problems for the smaller Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Darius Garland also started the season well and seem to be developing much needed chemistry with Sexton.
With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio coming out of the bench, this Cleveland squad finally has a number of good NBA players they can work with, and results have started to show. With their size, and especially with a shooter like Payne out, it will be interesting to see how well the Suns will be able to attack their rim.
However, don’t mistake a positive start with a overall good team. They have the potential to be good someday, but the game is tonight and they still need to mature quite a bit. After all, even after great wins over strong opponents, they did allow a comeback to none other than the struggling Lakers. More than any one area of the game, the Suns will need to impose their will, their own brand of basketball, and take advantage of a home and rest situation to make this an easy statement win.
Monty Williams will have the Suns ready to play and everything points to a win. No reason to think the result will be any different.
123-107 win for the Phoenix Suns and a happy birthday celebration later today for Book.