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Game Preview: Soaring Grizzlies (31-14) visit Scrapping Suns (23-24)

While the Suns wait for their team to come back healthy, the Grizzlies are flying high in the West

Phoenix Suns v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

What: Memphis Grizzlies (31-14, 2nd in West) at Phoenix Suns (23-24, 10th in West)

When: Sunday, 6:00pm AZ time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM

Betting Line: Memphis is favored by 8.5 points

It’s hard to know what to make of this game here, but it’s easy to predict. Let me explain.

Every game between Memphis and Phoenix this season has been a blowout. Memphis bookended a surprising 17-point loss at home to Phoenix last month with commanding 25-point and 30-point blowouts, most recently just last Monday in Memphis.

So predicting the score of his 4th matchup is easy. Memphis is rested and healthy while the Suns are a MASH unit and on the second night of a back to back with whatever guys they have left to suit up. Should be an easy win.

Yet, it’s hard to KNOW that the Grizzlies will walk away with an easy win. The Suns are at home, playing with renewed energy, and who knows they might get a guy or two back in the lineup to help raise the talent level in purple and orange just a bit. Let’s give the Suns a... 5% chance to steal this game.

Probable Starting Lineups


Suns (7): Cameron Johnson (knee injury management), Devin Booker (groin), Chris Paul (hip), Deandre Ayton (non-COVID illness), Landry Shamet (hip), Cameron Payne (foot) and Jae Crowder (not with team) are OUT

Grizzlies (1): Danny Green (knee) is OUT. He’s been out all season.

Grizzlies Update

They’re good. Quite good.

Until a last-second loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in LA on Friday night, the Grizzlies had won 11 games in a row and created a 6-game cushion between them and 3rd-place in the West.

Point guard Ja Morant is All-NBA worthy and will likely be in the MVP conversation. Last week against the Suns, he made five three-pointers in the first half, then dialed up the jets to score at will in the paint in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

Desmond Bane is a two-way shooting guard who could be an All-Star in the next year or two. He’s a knock-down shooter who can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot, even if its mostly a step-in-step-way-back three off the dribble most of the time.

Jaren Jackson Jr. only needs to stay healthy and out of foul trouble to win a Defensive Player of the Year or five. He had 6 blocks against the Suns last week in only 25 minutes of play.

Steven Adams is a 7-foot mauler in the middle. He had 9 rebounds in only 24 minutes of play against the Suns and this year is averaging 10 per game against them.

Dillon Brooks is a physical defender. And we haven’t even gotten to their very deep bench yet.

The Grizzlies only concern is youth, and that will only show up in the playoffs for better or worse.

So, what can the Suns do to beat the Grizzlies while down 7 of their best players?

Suns Update

Lately, the Suns have rediscovered their supreme effort level, winning both games — while holding on in the clutch — to start 2-0 on this home stand since returning to the friendly confines of Footprint Center in front of their new (soon to be) owner, Mat Ishbia.

When you’re down so dang many people sometimes you can just surprise your opponent because there’s not much game film on you to prep for. Like, who watches Damion Lee and Josh Okogie film?

Somehow, the Suns pulled out a win on Saturday with only three guys on MORE than a league minimum deal. In fact, seven of the 10 guys who beat Indiana on Saturday are minimum-salary (4), two-way (2) or 10-day (1). The two-ways and 10-day guys (Duane Washington Jr., Ish Wainright and Saben Lee) combined to produce 27 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. Ish and Saben Lee made huge shots to seal the win in the final minute.


WILL the Suns win on Sunday night over the supergood Grizzlies? No.

But COULD they? Sure. Maybe.

We don’t really know until they play the game, so tune in at 6:00pm.

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