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Game Preview: Suns host Magic, look to end 3-game losing skid

The Suns need to take care of business against one of the worst teams in the NBA on Thursday night.

Phoenix Suns v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

What: Orlando Magic (28-41, 13th in East) at Phoenix Suns (37-32, 4th in West)

When: 7:00 PM AZ time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM

The Suns have dropped three straight games and are still without Kevin Durant after his freak injury during warmups. They are 1-3 since that unfortunate slip took place.

The good news is despite that skid, they still remain 4th in the Western Conference standings though the rest of the West is inching up on them.

Phoenix holds a 22-12 home record this season and have done well protecting their home court all things considered. Their next opponent will be a young and hungry Orlando team with some talent but no true identity.

The Suns are looking to avenge their loss in Orlando in November when they were run out of the gym by the Magic by a final score of 114-97.

Projected Starters


  • Deandre Ayton
  • Torrey Craig
  • Josh Okogie
  • Devin Booker
  • Chris Paul


  • Wendell Carter Jr.
  • Paolo Banchero
  • Franz Wagner
  • Garry Harris*
  • Markelle Fultz

Injury Report


Kevin Durant (ankle) OUT

Landry Shamet (foot) OUT


*Gary Harris (hip) is QUESTIONABLE

Jonathan Isaac (hamstring) is OUT

Keys to the Game

1. Set the tone early

Phoenix cannot let Orlando hang around by playing down to their level. This game is a must-win in terms of keeping home-court advantage with the Warriors and Clippers creeping right behind them in the 5 and 6 seeds respectively. The Clippers sit just a half-game back of Phoenix and Golden State is 1.5 games behind.

Getting off to a strong start and building a cushion against a team like Orlando will be vital, as it is with any young team looking to make a statement on the road.

Teams will be “getting up” for Phoenix with or without Kevin Durant, so they need to be prepared for that youthful energy.

Phoenix Suns v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

2. Let Book cook

Devin Booker has been on an absolute tear of late. The Suns will need that to continue to have a shot at winning games without Kevin Durant.

Orlando’s defensive game plan will probably look similar to every team’s when KD isn’t playing. Booker will be seeing constant double teams and the Magic will likely invite the non-shooters to shoot.

3. Control the paint

Orlando averages 50 points per game in the paint to Phoenix’s 46. They have a plethora of bigs in Wendell Carter Jr., Moritz Wagner, Bol Bol, and Paolo Banchero manning the interior.

The last time these two teams met, the Suns struggled to contain them in the interior as the Magic outscored them in the paint by 6 points and had 10 more second-chance points than the Suns did.

Deandre Ayton will need to provide an active presence on both ends of the floor for the Suns to control the paint. Phoenix reserves Jock Landale and Bismack Biyombo (most likely Jock) will need to provide productive bench minutes as well.

Phoenix Suns v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Markelle Fultz has been productive of late, settling into a groove with Orlando as they look to build their foundation for next season. The Suns will need to keep him out of the paint as well.

The Suns will ultimately need their role players to step up and knock down open shots. It’s a make-or-miss league, and the threes specifically need to start falling.

Cam Payne returning to form would do the trick, as he showed some signs of life last game in the second half.


Suns take care of business. 118-109.

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