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Injury Updates! Game Preview: Suns have a chance to deal Wizards their 11th straight loss

Suns just beat the 12th seed in the West. Time to do it to the 12th seed in the East.

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (19-12) vs. Washington Wizards (11-20)

When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -7.5, O/U 226, Suns Moneyline -305


Here come the Wizards, a team in complete and utter disarray. They began the season 11-10. They are now 11-20. They just lost to the Lakers. You know, the team that the Phoenix Suns just beat by 26 points. We don’t know if we’ll see Bradley Beal, or Devin Booker for that matter. Even a weakened Suns team should do well against a free-falling team.

Washington hasn’t won in the month of December and they’ve lost 13 of their last 14 games. During this 14 game stretch they are ranked 28th in defensive rating in the league, compared to 16th in offensive rating. There’s no one reason why they’re struggling, just that they are discombobulated and nothing is making sense on both ends of the floor.

Phoenix is on a three game winning streak after losing five consecutive games during the front end of December. While their injury report remains to be seen, the talent and the continuity they possess should allow them to send Washington to their 11th defeat in a row. They manhandled a no name Lakers squad.

**UPDATE** See injury updates below

This game has all the making of a trap game. Second night of a back-to-back. Two nights off afterwards prior to a matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, followed by a Christmas Day battle with Denver.

These are the games that you have to be wary of; these are the games in which the Suns must keep their edge. We’ve seen it occur too often this season in which every reason exists for them to win a game. But they don’t. Chris Paul must be a leader and keep his team focused. Deandre Ayton must be a vacuum, inhaling every ball he can and putting it into the basket.

The team needs to be focused and not let a wounded dog have a chance to fight.

Starting Lineups

Out/Injured **UPDATED 3:25PM**

Phoenix:

  • Devin Booker (groin soreness) is OUT
  • Jock Landale (concussion protocol) is OUT
  • Josh Okogie (hip) is OUT
  • Cameron Payne (foot) is OUT
  • Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (where for art thou Jae) is NOT WITH TEAM

Duane Washington Jr. is off the injury list, so I assume he’s available tonight as CP’s backup.

Washington:

  • Kristaps Porzingis (non-COVID Illness) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Rui Hachimura (ankle) is OUT
  • Delon Wright (hamstring) is OUT

Uniform Matchup

What to Watch For

I’m watching Kyle Kuzma. I’m hoping that the Suns can somehow finally bring a guy to Phoenix that I truly want them to. That’s not to say other transactions that occurred or things I didn’t want to happen, but I want Kuzma.

He makes $13M a year, has a player option for next year, and has made it apparent that he doesn’t plan to stay with the Wizards. So I’m in scouting mode.

Washington doesn’t hold much leverage, so any asset they can garner in return would help them. How about Jae Crowder and a first?

Fun Fact

On February 15, 2002, I had the opportunity to see the greatest to ever lace them up play against the Suns. Michael Jordan, 38 years-old and playing for the Wizards, was a shell of his former dominant self. Still, he averaged 20 points in 37 minutes that season for the Wiz.

And when he came to Phoenix that year, I was in the stands to witness greatness.

Down by one, the Wizards inbounded the ball. Jordan went right, pump-faked Shawn Marion into the air, and nailed the game winner.

I wasn’t upset the Suns lost. I was thrilled I witnessed greatness.

Keys to a Suns Win

Kristaps Porzingis isn’t your prototypical big man. He has an affinity for the perimeter, which will draw Deandre Ayton out. If Torrey Craig continues his aggressiveness on the boards, this shouldn’t be an issue for the Suns. Washington is 23rd in the league in offensive rebounding, but the Suns are 27th in the league in defensive rebounding.

The one thing you don’t want to do to a struggling team is allow them to have second chance opportunities. Control the glass, primarily on the defensive end, and that should equate to an easy victory for Phoenix.

Prediction

The winning streak will go to four after tonight. Phoenix, despite the injury bug that has plagued them of late, still possesses in organic chemistry that’s hard to mimic. The Suns, unlike the Wizards, have a distinct identity. They’re a squad that knows how to play as one unit, everyone driving in the same direction. It’ll be an easy victory for the Suns.

Suns 124, Wizards 106

When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube:


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