Game Preview: Phoenix Suns(17-32) vs. New Orleans Hornets(15-33)

December 30, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; Phoenix Suns point guard Shannon Brown (26) shoots over New Orleans Hornets small forward Al-Farouq Aminu (0) during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Suns defeated the Hornets 93-78. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Phoenix Suns are set to take on the New Orleans Hornets tonight inwhat would be the second game of a back-to-back set for the Phoenix Suns. In the current NBA standings the Phoenix Suns, the New Orleans Hornets, and The Sacramento Kings are scrapping it out at the bottom of the Western Conference. The New Orleans own the worst record in the western conference, the Sacramento King are ahead of New Orleans by a game and the Suns are ahead of Sacramento by half a game.

“We don’t always shoot the ball well, but one thing we can control is how we defend, and that is something we really, really stress,” said Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter. Hunter is now 4-4 since taking over for Alvin Gentry last month.

Heading into tonight’s match-up between Phoenix and New Orleans, New Orleans are the favorite by 6 1/2 point margin according to ESPN.com. The Suns has Jermaine O’Neal and Goran Dragic listed as day to day while New Orleans has Eric Gordon listed as day-to-day however it’s been reported that he will play against the Suns tonight. 

Goran Dragic tweeted this following the Suns victory last night:

“Great win for us but feeling very sick. Need a good night’s sleep to recover. Tomorrow we play New Orleans. Go #All4Orange”

There have been no reports regarding the Dragic situation, he’s likely to be a game time decision. Should Dragic become too ill to play, expect Kendall Marshall to start in his place. Marshall played 33 minutes last night in the Suns win over Memphis.

Keys to the game: Suns

- Glue someone on Ryan Anderson! The last time Anderson played against the Suns he dropped 34 points and drilled eight three-pointers from beyond the arc! Anderson is the NBA leader in three-point field goals made this season and attempts nearly eight long balls per game.

- Fear the brow! Anthony Davis was a high-volume shot blocker at Kentucky but since coming to the NBA, his shot-blocking has came back down to earth. However he’s still one of the best swatters in the NBA today, ranking 10th in blocks per game at 1.8. The Suns need to know where Davis is when attacking the rim.

- Attack the defense! The Hornets have lost seven of their last nine games, and in those seven losses, the Hornets has allowed the opposing teams to average 109.3 points. 

Keys to the game: Hornets

- Turnovers! The Hornets have turned the ball over 45 times in their last two games which was ultimately the key factor in their losses. Gotta take care of the rock!

- Pick and roll defense! The key to stopping the Suns offensively has been the same since 2004, stopping the pick and roll! The Suns dismantled the Grizzlies last night with their fantastic pick and roll play. The young Anthony Davis and Grevis Vasquez will have their hands full tonight defending all those P&Rs.

The X-Factor!

- Too tired or too comfortable? The Suns have not done well on the second game of a back-to-back, the Suns are 2-10 this season when playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Hornets hasn’t played a game since February 2nd, the players and coaches have been hanging back, enjoy the Superbowl festivities, and all of that good stuff. Will the Hornets be prepared? Or will the Suns run out of gas?

Match-up of the night! 

- The most intriguing match-up tonight will definitely be between the power forwards, Luis Scola and of course Anthony Davis. Both players cannot be more different in terms of their play styles, Davis is long, athletic, and that’s what makes Davis such an exceptional player, while Scola is like one of the old-timers at the YMCA, fundamentally sound, and his knowledge of all the tricks of the trade is what makes Scola such an exception player. It’ll be a good one to watch no doubt about it.

Topics: NBA, New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns

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