Compiled by Bright Side user rookieyear.
The Phoenix Suns announced today that Eric Bledsoe will be shut down for another week, missing at least five more games over the coming week.
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe initially sprained his knee on Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. He missed Thursday night's loss to Memphis, and is still suffering from soreness and swelling.
Per the team, he will be sidelined and will not be evaluated for another week.
Bledsoe has been enjoying a career year with the Suns, scoring 18 points with nearly 6 assists in 24 games this season, as the face of the rising Suns to the national media on their way to a 19-12 season (16-8 with Bledsoe in the lineup).
This is the second time this season that Bledsoe has missed extended time. He earlier missed 6 games with a bruised shin, during which the Suns went 3-3 with wins against Bobcats, Magic and the Trail Blazers and losses to Sacramento (twice) and Miami.
The Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, then embark on a 5-game road trip over only 7 days, featuring two back-to-backs. All of the next seven Suns opponents are under .500 for the season, but 5 of those 7 games will be played on the road. Wednesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves has been picked up by ESPN for national coverage, but it will be a blow to the Suns chances without Bledsoe.
This is a setback for the streaking Suns, who reached what may be their high water mark of the season at 19-11 with a victory over the 21-12 Clippers on Monday night. Since then, the Suns lost to 13-17 Memphis without Bledsoe, and now face at least 5 more games without him.
Coach Hornacek has gone with basically an 8-man rotation for the season, with all 8 players getting at least 20 minutes per night, while a 9th rotation spot goes to rookie Archie Goodwin for about 10 minutes per game.
With Bledsoe sidelined, look for Ish Smith to get the lion's share of that 8th rotation spot ahead of Archie Goodwin because he can play point guard full time. Smith was somewhat effective in the Memphis game, getting 2 assists and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of play, and was a catalyst to a 21-point turnaround against Denver two weeks ago.
Can the Suns get back on track against the worst team in the NBA with the Greek Freak? Will Eric Bledsoe play? So many questions before the team hits the road...
The last time the Milwaukee Bucks (7-25) came to the Valley to play the Phoenix Suns (19-12) a lot of things were different. The Bucks were two games over .500 looking for a playoff birth, the Suns were 15 games under .500, Giannis Antetokounmpo was relatively unknown prospect, and it was the last time Alvin Gentry would be called the teams head coach.
It was a much different time.
Flash-forward to today and the Bucks are the worst team in the NBA, the Suns are vying for a home playoff game, and Giannis is playing well as an NBA starter. Oh how things have changed.
This season the Bucks have played 25 games without their budding star at center Larry Sanders who recently came back from injury. Now that he is back and playing well (7-7 from the field the other night) the Bucks are a different team. Now they have a big man inside that can protect the rim and give them some athleticism in the paint. He is not enough to make this a winning club again, but the athletic presence changes the gameplan for opposing teams.
Despite the loss to the Grizzlies the other night the Suns are playing quality basketball. Over the past 13 games they have won 10 games and marched into the conversation with the Clippers and Warriors for the Pacific Division crown.
Missing Eric Bledsoe the other night was a major blow. Until then they have a synergy with the starters that resulted in winning 10/12 games. Coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed today at shoot around that Bledsoe will miss at least a week (including tonight) with a sprained right knee.
This is another opportunity for the Suns against a bad Bucks team to collect wins to stay in the divisional conversation. The Bucks rank near the bottom of the league in points scored (29th), overall shooting (28th), three-point shooting (24th), and free-throw attempts per game (27th) giving the Suns opportunistic defense (16th in points allowed) to create turnovers and get out in transition (1st) for easy points.
Head-to-Head (past four seasons including Playoffs)
Suns: 100.7 PPG (5 wins)
Bucks: 97.1 PPG (2 wins)
For the most part the Suns are pretty confident against the Bucks not only recently, but historically. They are 67-63 lifetime against them and before last seasons debacle the Suns had won five straight games against the Bucks in a row. Outside of a coin flip... The Suns have the Bucks number.
SF - P.J. Tucker v. Giannis Antetokounmpo
C - Miles Plumlee v. Larry Sanders
The Suns vs. The Suns
It is fair to say the Suns should beat the Bucks. The Bucks are the worst team in the NBA, they are on the road, and they are playing a team that has won 10/13 games overall. Earlier in the season the Suns shot themselves in the foot against the Jazz and the Kings (twice) in games they should have won and if they did win, would have been in the conversation as a Top 4 team in the Western Conference. They are playing themselves in this game and the expectations placed on a team that is playing well enough to be the buzz of the National scene.
Will the Suns beat themselves tonight, again?
Interesting Stat: 3-4
The Suns are 3-4 this season without Bledsoe in the line-up. He did not practice on Friday after sitting out the game against the Grizzlies in a last minute scratch from the starting line-up. How will the Suns react without him again now that it is official he is out at least a week?
Meaningless Stat: Six
This season the Suns have six losses against winning teams and six losses against losing teams. Tonight, losing team.