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Game Preview: Suns Big Three to make debut, The Twins visit Phoenix for the first time since trade

The Suns and Nets play for the first time since last year’s blockbuster deadline trade

2023-24 Phoenix Suns Media Day Photo by Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images

Who: Phoenix Suns (13-10) vs. Brooklyn Nets (12-10)

When: Wednesday, Dec 13, – at 7:00 p.m. AZ time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix AZ

Watch: Arizona’s Family 3TV

Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM


Is it finally time for the Suns’ Big Three to play together? It appears so. Emphasis on the “appears,” as all Suns fans know. After coming off a big win last night, Phoenix plays the Brooklyn Nets tonight for the first time since the two teams pulled off a blockbuster trade to send Kevin Durant to Phoenix last season.

Everyone has an iconic memory of what they were doing when Woj Woj’d here, what were you up to?

After winning seven in a row, it’s been a bit of a bumpy path for the Suns, going 2-4 in their last six, a lot in part due to injuries. With Durant expected to return tonight and with Bradley Beal in, the Suns will finally be able to see what the trio of Durant, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker can do.

Fittingly, the Big Three’s first matchup is against the return of the Twins to Phoenix. Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges will play in their first games against the Suns since beat traded in February.

“The Twins,” as they’re called by many in the Valley, brought years of hard work, positivity, and dedication to Phoenix that will never be forgotten. Without their efforts, the 2021 Finals run and the 2021-2022 64-win campaign in the regular season wouldn’t have happened.

Expect a highly emotional tribute video for both players tonight and fervent cheers for them in introductions. ​​

Probable Starters

PHOENIX

  • Devin Booker
  • Bradley Beal
  • Eric Gordon
  • Kevin Durant
  • Jusuf Nurkić

BROOKLYN

  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Cam Thomas
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Cameron Johnson
  • Nic Claxton

Uniform Matchup

Injury Report:

PHOENIX

Grayson Allen — OUT (Right Groin Strain)

Kevin Durant — PROBABLE (Left Ankle; Sprain)

Damion Lee — OUT (Right Meniscus)

Nassir Little — QUESTIONABLE (Concussion Protocol)

Josh Okogie — OUT (Right Hip)

BROOKLYN

Noah Clowney —OUT (G League - On Assignment)

Keon Johnson — OUT (G League - Two-Way)

Ben Simmons — OUT (Left Lower Back, Nerve Impingement)

Dennis Smith Jr. —OUT (Upper Back; Strain)

Lonnie Walker IV — OUT (Left Hamstring; Strain)

Dariq Whitehead —OUT (G League - On Assignment)

What to Watch For

While it will be interesting to see how Booker, Beal, and Durant play together, it will also be just as interesting to see how Frank Vogel staggers their minutes. Beal is only playing his second game in a month and it is second-half of a back-to-back, so it’s likely that his minutes will not be plentiful.

Whatever happens tonight from a basketball and a rotation standpoint will not be permanent. It will take time for Vogel and the team to figure out the best way for all their scoring and playmaking talent to fit together.

While Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant, with Bridges and Johnson in town for the first time since the move, it will be interesting to see how the Suns match up with their perimeter defensive and offensive abilities. To get a lot you have to give up a lot and since the trade, the Suns, who were a team significantly built on wing depth in large part due to the Twins are more of a thinner team stuffed with supreme offensive talent.

Both Bridges and Johnson will be on Durant at times, as well as Dorian Finney-Smith, who also possesses many similar defensive abilities to his two teammates.

Key to a Suns Win

Devin Booker.

The Nets have a lot of defenders and both Durant and Beal are working themselves back from various injuries. As the leader and offensive engine for Phoenix, games like this are what he’s made for.

A lot of stuff is out of place right now for Phoenix, with people in and out of the rotation, and Booker’s ability to run and lead a team is what can muscle out tough victories on the second end of a back-to-back in the middle of December.

The Nets have a lot of talented players, ones that can cause trouble for Phoenix, but considering the circumstances, Booker will be the best player on the court which is what Phoenix will need to pull out the win.

Prediction

Another electric night in the Footprint Center, resulting in Phoenix’s second-straight win. Durant, Booker, and Beal all show glimpses of cohesion on the court together, leaving Suns fans excited for what is to come for their Big 3.

Suns 111, Nets, 97

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