After a much needed win against the Los Angeles Lakers last night, the Phoenix Suns will play the second game of a back-to-back at home tonight against John Wall and the Washington Wizards at 7:00 p.m. MST.
The Suns have lost five of their last nine home games, and had lost four games in a row prior to last night's impressive win. But just when you start to think the Suns are finished, they surprise you with a quality win against a tough opponent. The Suns have shown that they can play well together at times, but so far that has proven to be more the exception than the rule; making it difficult to say whether or not the effort and energy the Suns played with at home against the Lakers will be something they can carry forward to tonight.
One thing's for sure though, the 7-24 Wizards have been playing even worse than the 13-19 Suns. However, the Wizards have also shown they can compete with anyone when they are playing well together, as evidenced by their surprise wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers. If Phoenix wants to keep their hopes of landing a playoff spot alive, they need to play with more energy and intensity at home and secure wins against lesser opponents like Washington.
Read on for a look at tonight's game against the lowly Wizards, and what the Suns need to do to continue the success they enjoyed against the Lakers last night.
Here are the Wizards:
|Roger Mason Jr.||23||6.7||0.7||2.3||27.8||0.2||1.2||18.5||0.2||0.2||100.0||0.0||0.5||0.5||0.4||0.3||0.1||0.0||0.2||1.7|
Looking at the stats it's pretty easy to see that John Wall and Nick Young are the driving force of the Washington Wizards, but they do have other substantial contributors in Javale McGee, Jordan Crawford, and Andre Blatche who are all averaging over 10 points a game, along with Rashard Lewis and Trevor Booker who average just under that. And what happened to Roger Mason?
So other than the match-ups, what else can the Suns do to help them win this game? What worked so well for them last night in their surprising win over the Lakers?
I believe the answer to this question is scoring from the wings.
Last night Jared Dudley went off for 25 points, his highest total of the season thus far. Not only that, but in addition to guarding Kobe Bryant, Grant Hill also pumped in 15 points offensively as well. These offensive contributions from our wings were the difference in the game in my opinion, and it is one of the aspects of the game the Suns have been lacking in this season compared to past seasons where they have had more success. We know the Suns can expect consistent production from their starting point guard and center, but they need consistent production from their starting wings to knock down open shots and also open up the lane for the pick and roll, which is still the bread and butter of the offense. If the Suns can get additional scoring from Michael Redd and Shannon Brown off the bench as well, then that will help them even more, but they must continue to get consistent scoring from their starting wings in order to win games.
The Suns were determined to get a win at home last night against one of their biggest rivals; not only to keep the fans interested but also to help with the players' confidence and overall team morale. Let's hope they can ride that wave of momentum back into the arena tonight and take care of business again against a team they should beat.