The Phoenix Suns have an exciting matchup tonight against the first place New Orleans Pelicans. The stakes of the game include a spot at the top of the Western Conference standings.
This game will be the first of two that these two teams will play this weekend. However, this is not the first time they have met this season. The Suns defeated the Pelicans with a final score of 124-11 back in October, this was also a Friday night matchup.
With that being said, even though the Pelicans are riding a five-game winning streak, the Suns are favored to win. This is given their recent success over New Orleans, including a 2021 playoff series.
Keys to the game
1. Get Chris Paul going early
The Phoenix Suns will have to get point guard Chris Paul active early in tonight’s game. The 37-year-old is just coming off a heel injury, and after missing a whole month, Paul was horrendous in his first game back two days ago.
Though he played 24 minutes, Chris recorded a +/- of -28 and had the same number of turnovers as points (4).
Phoenix is 6-2 this season when Paul plays for more than 30 minutes, thanks to his excellent passing skills.
2. Limit the turnovers
If round one of the 2021 playoffs taught us anything, it is that the New Orleans Pelicans are an extremely pesky team. PG Jose Alvarado, in particular, made his presence known and had no trouble getting inside Phoenix’s head.
The Pelicans are second in the league with an average of close to nine steals a game. The Suns, on the other hand, are coming off a horrible night versus the Celtics, where they committed 18 total turnovers.
3. Fix the Friday slump
Despite holding an impressive 16-9 record, the Suns have been terrible on Friday nights for some odd reason. This year, Phoenix is 2-5 on Fridays, including losses to the last place Orlando Magic (Eastern Conference) and the last place Houston Rockets (Western Conference).
A win tonight in front of a national audience against one of the best teams in the NBA is just what the Suns need to gain back the attention of the league.
It will be a loud, chippy, and exciting matchup between two heavyweight teams at the top of the Western Conference.
While the Pelicans have some unfinished business from last year and a five-game winning streak to improve, the Suns are seeking to get back on track after falling in two straight.
You can watch this game on Bally Sports AZ at 6:30 PM Arizona time.