The Suns started the season on the road with a loss in Portland and a win in Utah. Then they returned home for losses to the Lakers, Spurs, and then a win a week ago against Memphis. Their last two games were a win against Atlanta and a loss to Memphis, both on the road Sunday and Monday. So, with three days off before our game, there’s no hope that they might be tired, so I guess will have to hope that they’re rusty.
We’re probably all aware by now that Amare Stoudemire is no longer with the team. This hasn’t affected their offensive efficiency all that much since they’re still the 3rd highest at 108 points per 100 possessions. Their defense is still giving up points at a rate of 109 per 100 possessions. But considering the quality of the opponents they’ve been scoring against, I’m not all that sure we can slow them down right now. We’re probably going to have to if we’re going to pull out a win since we haven’t been able to mount much of an offense of our own over the last two games.
What shouldn’t come as a surprise is that they are one of the top teams in True Shooting percentage and three-point percentage. What is a surprise is that they are one of the top teams in offensive rebound rate. So basically, they take high-percentage shots and when they do miss, their offensive rebounds lead to second-chance points. Their biggest failure is on the defensive glass where they are the worst in the league, but they are also have one of the higher turnover Rates.
Of their starters, Jason Richardson and Steve Nash are the top scorers with 21.7 and 18.7 ppg respectively. The other three -- Hakim Warrick, Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu -- all score in double figures. Surprisingly, Hill is the top rebounder, with Warrick, Channing Frye and Robin Lopez all close, with just over five per game. The other interesting detail is that Lopez is averaging fewer than 20 minutes per game.
In spite of the similar 3-4 record, the Suns look to be a difficult challenge for the Kings. The Suns have won nine straight against the Kings in Phoenix. With Nash’s leadership along with their three-point shooting they look to be a team whose skills match up well to the Kings' weaknesses. However, the Kings were able to beat them by a score of 109-95 in preseason.
That was DeMarcus Cousins’ first game and he went for 16 points and 16 rebounds. The Kings dominated both the offensive and defensive boards and shot 52%. That’s probably what’s needed if the Kings are going to have a chance to beat them again. This should be a game where any combination of Samuel Dalembert or Cousins with any of our PFs should dominate the glass without help from the guards or wings. Plus, Cousins should be able to score well, if we can find a way to get him the ball in the paint. The toughest part is going to be stopping Richardson, who’s shooting 48% from the field and from three-point range. It should be interesting to see who gets the defensive assignment. This is not a game where we can cheat off the three-point shooters, and we need to look for long rebounds off their misses to initiate the fast break.
It should be a good game, but I find it hard to believe that the Suns won’t extend their home winning streak to 10. Leaving Phoenix with a 4-4 record would be sweet, though.