The Suns begin one of the toughest stretches of the season this week, starting with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
L.A. will be looking for revenge after suffering a home 107-88 defeat to the Suns back on Dec. 30. Goran Dragic shredded the Clippers for 26 points, eight assists and five steals and Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench.
Will Phoenix use that same formula for success? And how much of that previous game will the Clippers remember? That and more will be worth watching.
Phoenix needs to improve here. That is no secret. Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek, even after a win on Sunday, admitted the team’s recent trend is “concerning.”
Over their last five games, the Suns have given up 111.6 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting.
They’ll need to clamp down better against the Clippers, who rank second in the league in scoring and sixth in shooting percentage.
L.A. will reportedly be without the services of super sub Jamal Crawford, who is averaging 19.0 points off the bench this season.
With J.J. Redick (hip) already out, the Clippers will be looking to former Sun Jared Dudley, backup guard Darren Collison and newly acquired Danny Granger for production on the wing.
Markieff and Marcus have often traded off the hot hand off the bench, but the last two games have seen both forwards play well off the bench. They’ve combined for averages of 36 points on 57.1 percent shooting over the last two wins, giving Phoenix a dual scoring punch off the bench few teams can match.
If they can repeat that effort agains the thinned Clippers’ depth, L.A. may be forced to play their starters uncomfortably long minutes.
Battle on the Boards
Despite the presence of big-name rebounders like DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, the Clippers actually average slightly fewer rebounds per game than the Suns.
Part of that is due to the team-wide approach Phoenix employs on the glass. Eight different players average above three boards per contest for the Suns, compared to just four for the Clippers.
If Phoenix’s gang rebounding can trump the Griffin/Jordan duo on the glass, the Suns will be in good shape.
Phoenix appears back on track since scoring just 86 points at Utah last week They’ve rung up a total of 245 over the last two wins.
They’re shooting 54.5 percent in that span, including a ridiculous 53.2 percent from three-point range.
The season is winding down! Don’t miss your chance to catch arguably the “best story in the NBA” in action right here at US Airways Center! Head on over to Suns.com’s Ticket Central to get your tickets now!