Time: 8:00 PM **late start**
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
Have the Phoenix Suns hit rock bottom, and now is the time to start climbing again? Getting two important players back from injury can only help.
Start forward Cameron Johnson He returns to the Phoenix Suns lineup tonight for the first time in over two months after recovering from a torn meniscus. it’s a possible will join him Chris Paul (hip) too. Both participated in full practice yesterday, although the generic message on Cam was “available” while the message on Chris was “questionable” for tonight’s match. Neither will be at optimal performance on their first day back – Cam will need time to trust that knee and get back into game form, while Chris is a case of pain management – but their mere presence can balance out the Suns offense in some way that makes them more successful.
With several injuries affecting the Suns, they have fallen to 12th in the Western Conference standings after finishing first as recently as December 6, just six weeks earlier. That’s what losing 18 out of 24 matches will do to you.
Most of the time it dealt incredibly impressive injuries. The loss of Devin Booker, All-Star candidate and MVP (hamstring, quadriceps) was the biggest issue, but the Suns also lost as many as 6 of their top 8 players at once.
- Torrey Craig and Damion Lee have played third and fourth minutes the most times for the team this season — career-wise, they’re eighth on their teams, at best
- Ash Wainwright and Duane Washington Jr., the 15th and 16th best players, appeared in the same number of games (55 total) as All-Stars Chris Paul and Devin Booker (55 total).
The sun needs the right direction, but they keep taking sideways steps instead of forwards. While CamJ (now) and CP (soon) would be welcome additions, two new names appeared on the injury report – Landry Shamet (foot soreness) and Josh Okogie (nose fracture) now out for Thursday’s game.
Meanwhile, the Nets will come to Phoenix without their team’s MVP candidate, MVP candidate Kevin Durant, who suffered a sprained knee (MCL) last week and will need a few more weeks to recover. The Nets have lost three straight points, an average of 10, since Durant fell.
Possible starting formations
**Update: Pee outside (hip). No idea who starts where.
- Suns: Cameron Johnson (knee) potential, Chris Paul (hip)
DoubtfulOUT, Devin Booker (thigh), Cameron Payne (feet), Josh Okoji (broken nose) and Landry Shamet (feet) And of course Jay Crowder (Ego) is all out of the ordinary
- NETWORKS: Kyrie Irving (calf soreness) Possible. Kevin Durant (knee) is out.
With Shamet joining others on the injury report, I’m not sure where the Suns will get any ball if the (questionable) Chris Paul can’t play. Without our top ballplayers – Paul, Payne, Booker and Chamet – we might be stuck for another round of “cross your fingers and hope for a good Duane Washington Jr. game”!
Duane Washington Jr. has had quite the ups and downs this season, to say the least. In the last 14 games when he’s been pressed to serve in the wake of injuries to Chris Paul and Cameron Payne, Washington has put up 13 points in 18 minutes per game on a very strange shooting profile: He’s depleted 39% on 5 three-point shots, but only 36% on 8 shots. by two points per game during that time. run point, he averaged 3.6 assists on 1.9 turnover. That’s roughly a 2:1 ratio, but it’s clear that when he’s under so much pressure, he doesn’t have enough decision making to survive. He was at his worst against top class players.
So Monty Williams turned to Sabin Lee who signed him to a 10-day contract in recent matches, and immediately put him to work the day he put ink to paper. In three matches, he played 15, 13 and 28 minutes. He doesn’t take many threes, but he’s aggressive, making 7 of 13 shots inside the arc and tied for 16 free throws in those three games while averaging only 1 turnover.
“I’m looking for something different,” Monty Williams said about giving Lee a lot of running at that speed. This isn’t a hunt for Washington, per se, but the Suns have been sorely lacking in error-making and have lost a billion games in a row. Why not try something different?
Hopefully Chris Paul plays the Nets tonight. Otherwise, the Duane/Saben show would be, well, that’s not very promising.
Kevin Durant is everything for the Nets, but even KD needs a good second man and health through the rest of the roster. With him and Kyrie Irving and the others – Including TJ Warren In its place, the networks climbed from 11th place (7-9) on November 15, all the way up to 4th place by December 7 (14-12) and then to 2nd place by December 28 (23-12). That’s a 9-point climb in just 19 games!
The Nets remained in second place for the next three weeks until BAM suffered another injury. Durant suffered a knee strain three games ago, and now his team has lost 3 straight games. The Nets were also without Kyrie Irving in an 18-point loss Tuesday night against the lowly Spurs.
Let’s talk to a non-KD player for a minute. You all remember TJ Warren? Yes, he’s playing basketball again!
After missing a full two years from the Games, Scorin’ Warren has finally got the court back and back to its old form. He’s played in 19 of his last 20 games, and over the last 10 games, he’s put up 12.6 points on 51% shooting (35% on threes) and grabbed 3.8 rebounds in 24 minutes per game off the bench.
Others up by KD include Seth Curry (16.7 points off the last 3 points) and Cam Thomas (15 points).
In the middle, the Nets had a really good season off of Nic Claxton. It’s small and doesn’t do much outside of coating on both ends, but it does give them some sheer protection that they sorely miss.
One final note: Ben Simmons didn’t interfere in KD’s absence, at least in the scoring. He scored only 5 points per game on 30% shooting. He shoots 12 assists and grabs at least 9.5 rebounds.
Both teams are on a 3-game losing streak, missing their MVP and seeing their 2nd MVP in the Daily Mode.
If Chris Paul plays, I think the Suns will win this game. If Paul doesn’t play, it’s another conflict over who plays as if he needs this win the most.
hoo boy. I will say the Suns won this one 115-105.