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Game Preview: Book, Beal out as Phoenix looks to rebound in home opener against the Jazz

Kevin Durant will once again need support as Devin Booker and Bradley Beal will not be on the court to assist.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What: Utah Jazz (1-1) @ Phoenix Suns (1-1)

When: 7:00pm AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: AZ Family 3TV, AZ Family Sports Network 44KJZZ, Suns Live

Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM

The Utah Jazz, coming off a two-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers, look to spoil the home opener for the Phoenix Suns. Yes, it is the first time that we get to see this new-look Phoenix team on the home court in a game that counts toward the standings. Get hyped, get loud, get...oh...Beal and Booker won’t play again? Go crazy! For multiple reasons.

It’s a relief that the Jazz played last night and might not have as much steam heading into this game as if they had a day off. Yes, I am already thinking that way and of course, you know why.

With what looks to be another game without Suns star guards Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, any breaks the Suns can get they should take.

“Doubtful” has turned to “out”.

After the Suns lost a nailbiter to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, tonight’s third game of the season is what you might want to think of as a must-win. We are here to tell you it is not. Must-wins do not exist until elimination games, be it from playoff contention or in the postseason itself. This is, however, a “it would be nice to win” scenario for Phoenix.

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns:

  • Devin Booker (foot) is OUT
  • Bradley Beal (back) is OUT
  • Damion Lee (knee) is OUT

Utah Jazz:

  • None

Must be nice...

Projected Starting Lineups

Uniform Matchup

(via NBA Lockervision)

What to Watch For

Suns players that have yet to step foot on the court this season.

The Suns’ depth was tested against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, and for the most part, it held up. You know, if fourth quarters mean nothing to you. Heavy minutes were placed on the shoulders of Kevin Durant, so without Booker and Beal for the second conductive game, Frank Vogel may dip even further into the bench squad to provide minutes and relief.

After two games, the following players have yet to get the opportunity to play a minute for the Suns:

  • Keita Bates-Diop
  • Chimezie Metu
  • Udoka Azubike
  • Saben Lee
  • Bol Bol

Metu was shooting lights out from three in the preseason at nearly 40%. A shot like that will be much needed next to Durant. We witnessed some hesitation last game from Durant’s teammates when throwing up a shot or two. Metu would be nice to have the floor, as he is not afraid to pull the trigger. If foul trouble occurs, perhaps some small-ball five action for Metu could be explored.

KBD might get some minutes depending on how the game goes. At times he still seemed lost on the court, but with injuries already taking place with our star players in Booker and Beal, it would be nice to be rewarded with a good KBD game tonight against the Jazz.

Keys to a Suns Victory

Keeping Durant fresh for the end of the game.

Durant led the Suns last game with a little over 39 minutes played. Tired legs in the fourth quarter, coupled with the lack of role player movement/ball-watching, forced KD into jumpers and tough shots. LeBron James and the Lakers gained momentum as his legs were fresh and they took the win.

The Suns' bench ended the game shooting 8-of-21 from the field. It wasn’t a percentage that was the issue. It was the lack of contribution in getting the shots up.

The ball needs to move and players like Yuta Watanabe and hopefully Chimezie Metu (if he plays) need to start jacking up shots. Take the pressure off of Durant at the end of the game and let him get rest. You don’t want to see Durant coming back into the game until about the six or five-minute mark in the fourth quarter.


I do think the Suns can pull away from the Jazz late in the game. Behind an anxious crowd awaiting their beloved Booker and Beal, the support behind Durant and his minions will carry them to a victory.

Plus, with the Jazz playing the night before, their energy might fall flat entering the fourth quarter. I will take it! It is a long season, but starting 1-2 is yucky!

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