To a man, the Suns were frustrated and disappointed after Thursday’s loss to the sub-.500 Grizzlies.
League-worst Milwaukee (7-25) offers an outlet for Phoenix’s frustrations on Saturday night. The Bucks rank near the bottom of the league in scoring (29th), field goal percentage (29th) and rebounding (26th).
It will be up the Suns to take advantage of the Bucks’ woes without Eric Bledsoe, who is out for at least a week due to a sprained knee suffered in Phoenix’s Dec. 30 win over the L.A. Clippers.
Is Big Run in Store for Dragic?
Over his last three games, Goran Dragic is averaging 26.7 points on 58.8 percent shooting. The high point was Thursday,when he poured in a career-high 33 points after Bledsoe was a late scratch for the game.
Teams will likely key their defenses more on the Slovenian point guard while Bledsoe is out, but Dragic put up 20.5 points per contest when Bledsoe previously missed six games in November.
Will Green, Others Step Up Again?
Gerald Green wore one of the longer faces in the Suns’ locker room on Thursday after shooting 1-for-7 from three-point range. Yet the seventh-year guard proved himself more than capable of stepping up in a starting role when Bledsoe and Goran Dragic missed games earlier this season due to injury
In 13 games as a starter, Green averaged 15.2 points while hitting nearly three three-pointers per contest.
There is also a trickle-down of minutes for reserves such as Ish Smith and Archie Goodwin. Smith tied his season high with 20 minutes played on Thursday, but like Green is eager to bounce back after a poor shooting night (1-for-6).
Will Suns Hit the Boards?
Like the Bucks, Memphis is also a bottom-10 rebounding team. Yet the Grizzlies looked elite on Thursday night, when the Suns gave up a 19-rebound edge as well as 19 offensive boards that produced 17 second-chance points.
Bucks big man Larry Sanders poses a significant threat tonight after averaging 9.0 rebounds in his first four games back from thumb surgery, including an 11-rebound, four-block performance against the Lakers on Tuesday .
Will Bucks Be Kept in Check?
Hornacek bemoaned the Suns’ allowing players like Ed Davis (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Jerryd Bayless (17 points) to burn Phoenix off the bench on Thursday night.
The Suns face a similar cast of NBA talent that lacks star power but boasts big-night potential tonight. Brandon Knight, Ersan Ilyasova and Caron Butler and Nate Wolters have all proven capable of stat-stuffing performances.
Knight is two games removed from a career-high 37 points on 15-of-25 shooting against the Lakers. It was the kind of night that likely concerns Hornacek & Co. much more than his season average of 14.7 points per game on 39.6 percent shooting..
Will Suns Bounce Back Again?
If Phoenix has proven anything this season, it’s that they don’t allow losses to snowball quickly. Only twice have they suffered consecutive losses this season, the last of which occurred on Dec. 3.
The turnarounds have often been emphatic. After a loss to Memphis in December, the Suns answered by holding the league’s best scoring team (Houston) to 88 points in a road victory. After losing by 29 at Golden State later that month, they responded with a double-digit win over Philadelphia.
Chances are the Suns are eager to equally erase Thursday’s loss with a big win tonight.