Phoenix Suns play NBA-best Pacers on the National Stage

January 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) celebrates after the game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Pacers defeated the Warriors 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Suns versus Pacers

The Phoenix Suns are going to need to step up if they are to come out of Wednesday night with a victory as they play NBA-best Pacers on the National stage. This is one of the games that ESPN flexed, so Phoenix will have a national audience as they try to get to 24 wins on the season.

ESPN picked this game because it’s the first time breakout players Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green see their former team. It’s also the game that has a bigger probability of being close and competitive. In this game, Phoenix is at home on more rest, while the other game (eight days later) is in Indiana, at the end of the Suns’ four games in five nights, all on the road.

Key Matchup:

Miles Plumlee versus Roy Hibbert and Paul George versus Gerald Green. In an ironic twist, the two former Pacers have to step up and deal with two great NBA talents in MVP candidate Paul George and Defensive Player of the Year Roy Hibbert. George will probably get his points, but Plumlee needs to stay out of foul trouble and keep Hibbert from getting easy paint touches. Let’s hope a few of George’s points are like that amazing reverse-360 dunk from a few days ago.

What the Suns offense needs to focus on:

 Because the Pacers have such an elite defense, the Suns need to get in the passing lanes, out in transition, and get some easy points. The Suns should win if they rack up more than 20 fastbreak points. They also need to be aggressive, drawing fouls on George, Hibbert, David West and the like.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Protect the paint. If Phoenix wants to win, they need to keep Hibbert, West and former Suns Luis Scola away from the basket and shooting contested jumpers. The Suns guards need to stay in front of George Hill, George, C.J. Watson so they don’t get into the teeth of Phoenix’s defense, carving it up, and dropping the ball off for easy points, when the Suns bigs try to help.

Prediction:

The Suns will fall 101-92 to the Pacers, but this would be a big one for the Suns to steal from Indiana.

Topics: Basketball, David West, Gerald Green, Geroge Hill, Luis Scola, Miles Plumlee, NBA, Paul George, Phoenix Suns, Roy Hibbert, Suns

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