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Game Preview: Suns host Grizzlies looking for 20th win of season

The Phoenix Suns could secure a 3-game sweep against the Grizzlies in the 2023-24 season with a win tonight.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Phoenix Suns (19-16) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (12-23)

When: 6:00 pm AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: 3TV and Arizona’s Family Sports

Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM


The Phoenix Suns got a much-needed victory over the Miami Heat on Friday evening. They currently sit at 19-16, which is good for the 8th seed in the West.

Their next opponent is Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies, who have won two of their last three including a 127-113 win over the Lakers on Friday night.

This will be the third matchup between these teams this season and the first since Ja Morant has been reinstated. Phoenix is 2-0 against Memphis this season, beating them by a combined 28 points in those two contests.

Phoenix has been without Kevin Durant for the past two games, and seven times total this season. They hold a 5-2 record without their superstar forward.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PROJECTED STARTERS

Phoenix:

  • Jusuf Nurkic
  • Kevin Durant*
  • Grayson Allen
  • Bradley Beal
  • Devin Booker

*If Kevin Durant is unable to go, look for Chimezie Metu to take the final starting spot in the rotation.

Memphis:

  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Marcus Smart
  • Desmond Bane
  • Ja Morant*

Injury Report

Suns:

  • Kevin Durant - QUESTIONABLE (Right Hamstring Strain)
  • Eric Gordon - QUESTIONABLE (Right Knee Soreness)
  • Nassir Little - OUT (Left Knee Soreness)
  • Bol Bol - OUT (Right Ankle Sprain)
  • Damion Lee - OUT (Right Meniscus Surgery)

Grizzlies:

  • Ja Morant - QUESTIONABLE (Shoulder)
  • Vince Williams - QUESTIONABLE (Foot)
  • Derrick Rose - OUT (Hamstring)
  • Brandon Clarke - OUT (Achilles)
  • Steven Adams - OUT (Knee)

What To Watch

Stars Being Stars

The question of the night for each team is will their superstar play. Both Kevin Durant and Ja Morant are listed as questionable for this one.

Even if both of them do not play, there is still plenty of star power in the form of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane. The complexity of the matchup changes entirely for each team based on the availability of their top scorers, but either way... it’s going to come down to which stars show up.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the last meeting between these teams, JJJ and Bane combined for 64 points in a loss. Booker poured in 34 points in that 116-109 victory.

Memphis doesn’t have a ton of depth when it comes to perimeter/wing defenders, so containing Booker and Beal will be a tough enough task on its own. Add Durant to the mix and good luck.

The same could be said for Phoenix’s struggles to keep quicker guards out of the paint. If Morant suits up they will have their hands full on that end, per usual.

Grayson Sniping

Grayson Allen has had some absurd games this season. When he gets hot, it’s tough to stop him. His addition has been a massive one and in my opinion, he is the most important piece in that Deandre Ayton trade.

A nice find here is that seven of his (Allen’s) career-high nine threes against Miami were assisted by Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. These three building chemistry together is vital towards the success of Phoenix, especially come playoff time. A very welcome sight for Suns fans.

They’ll need production across the board from their role players against a feisty Grizzlies team that will fight them from start to finish.

If Durant doesn’t suit up, I expect a big night from Chimezie Metu with both Bol Bol and Nassir Little out. Eric Gordon is also questionable, so the rotation will be fascinating to follow depending on the availability of key guys.

Prediction

Phoenix sweeps the Grizz in the season series tonight. It won’t be easy, and Memphis will go on their runs, but I expect the Suns to keep them in check and pull out another big win.

Suns by 7.

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