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Preview: The Suns (11-8) take on the New Orleans Pelicans (7-12)

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The Phoenix Suns look to make it four wins in a row tonight visiting New Orleans on ESPN

New Orleans Pelicans v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (11-8) at New Orleans Pelicans (7-12)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: New Orleans

Watch: ESPN, Fox Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM


Two teams currently going in the opposite direction in the Western Conference standing face each other for the second time this season. Suns took care of business in a blowout win (111-86) when the Pelicans visited Phoenix back on December 29th.

Looking for a repeat victory, the Suns might be facing a desperate team in the Pelicans or a team waiving the white flag as the trade deadline approaches.


Injury Updates

Phoenix Suns:

Dario Saric- OUT (remainder of Suns road trip)

Cameron Payne- OUT (foot)

Abdel Nadar- Day-to-day (ankle soreness)

New Orleans Pelicans:

Naji Marshall- Day-to-day (ankle)

Steven Adams- Day-to-day (calf)


Projected Starters

Phoenix Suns

  1. Chris Paul
  2. Devin Booker
  3. Mikal Bridges
  4. Jae Crowder
  5. Deandre Ayton

New Orleans Pelicans

  1. Eric Bledsoe
  2. Lonzo Ball
  3. Brandon Ingram
  4. Zion Williamson
  5. Jaxson Hayes


Phoenix Suns

Paul was able to right the ship for the Suns after losing the first two games without Booker in the lineup against the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Winning the next two games against the Golden State Warriors and the first game of the series against the Dallas Mavericks, splitting the four game absence of Booker was just good enough to keep the momentum of the season alive.

With Booker back in the lineup Monday night, the adjustment continues for the starters as more iso ball is played, leading to an amazing game winning shot! We couldn’t ask for a better back court in the league with both Booker and Paul playing with passion and the will to win every game this season. Proving that they are All-Stars has already been made to Suns fans, but to the rest of the NBA, continuing the winning streak should put them both in great shape in making the game.

Devin Booker:

22.9 PTS, 3.9 AST, 3.3 REB

The number still need a bit of an inflation but with more wins to pile up in the standing, that should be key in making his second appearance in the All-Star game.

Chris Paul:

16.6 PTS, 8.7 AST, 4.8 REB

The contribution from the Suns bench is stellar even with the absence of Saric and Payne. Coach Monty Williams has a good problem in trying to find minutes for players that are willing to play hard and know what it takes to win.

Jevon Carter has not seen the floor in the last two games against the Mavericks. Will that continue? Probably not. The bench depth is key to many victories and really have not cost the Suns as of yet.

New Orleans Pelicans

The roster on paper that people love to drool over is not producing much success on the court. New coach Stan Van Gundy has a tough task in turning a young and talented ball players into winners.

Maybe we can just blame Bledsoe, but that is too easy. The stat sheet seems to be filled individually as both players below can either be the number one or two best player on the team.

Brandon Ingram:

23.4 PTS, 4.6 AST, 5.3 REB

Zion Williamson:

23.5 PTS, 2.3 AST, 7.6 REB

These are two important players for the future on the franchise but if winning doesn’t start soon, one may only remain.

28th in the league at the 3, shooting 32.2%, most of their success needs to come from mid-range and in the paint.

Rebounding is not an issue, averaging 46.8 a game- 4th in the league.

Playing big is the only way they can dominate a game, the fact that the league is of course going “small,” may change soon. Can Zion play the 5 and dominate outside while being a facilitator? That could be an option even after signing Steven Adams.

Long and big in the paint will stifle an offense. So far this season the Pelicans are 4th in the league in opponents points in the paint with 43.2 a game and only giving up 11.6 points on 2nd chances.


Team Stats


Pelicans trade ideas

Trying to help the opposing team out with a few trade ideas before the trade deadline. Hopefully this doesn’t back fire and give the Pelicans a reason to be motivated.

Poor Lonzo, just wants to be a franchise point guard but keeps being paired with other point guards making him a two guard? This is a trade that would put Zion at the 5. Bagley at the 4 and Ingram at the 3 in New Orleans.

This would be fun but would never happen. The Ball brothers unite!

Maybe this one could actually work?


Prediction

Ayton will have his hands full but I can never predict how the Suns big man will come out and play, so let’s stick to the back court. Booker will have his first 40-point game of the season leading the Suns to a 113-102 win over the Pelicans.

But don’t be surprised if Frank Kaminsky breaks the 40-point barrier first this season. I am kidding... or am I?