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Preview: Suns look to bounce back against Hornets

© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns (38-28, 7th in Western Conference) play their third of a four-game road trip tonight against the Charlotte Hornets (17-49, 13th in Eastern Conference) in their final regular season meeting. This is the second night of a back-to-back for Phoenix.

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Kevin Durant enters tonight need 33 points to pass Shaquille O’Neal for eighth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

The Suns beat the Hornets 133-119 in Phoenix on Dec. 29 and shot a season-high 62.2% from the floor and 60% from deep. The Hornets cashed in on a season-high 23 3-pointers of their own during this contest. Devin Booker led Phoenix with 35 and seven assists, while Jusuf Nurkić contributed 24 and 15 rebounds.

Last night, the Suns fell 127-112 to the Boston Celtics, as Boston made an incredible 25 3-pointers. All three of Phoenix’s Big 3 and Grayson Allen scored 20-plus points, but it was not enough against the league-leading Celtics, who were just scorching hot offensively.

The Hornets are coming off a 110-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night. Miles Bridges had a team-high 27 points, while Vasa Micic had a career-high 25 on 9-of-10 shooting against a short-handed Memphis team.

Charlotte ranks in the bottom-10 of nearly every team stat this season, including the worst in the league in point differential. They will be without five players, most notably LaMelo Ball and Mark Williams. Eric Gordon is likely to return for Phoenix after missing the last two games with a left knee contusion.

Local Game Information

Start Time: 4:00 p.m. MST

Location: Spectrum Center

TV Channel: 3TV/ AZ Family, NBATV

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, La Mejor 106.5 FM

Stream: Suns Live (click for more info)

Betting Odds

Line: PHX -10.5

O/U: 219.5

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns: Eric Gordon (left knee contusion) PROBABLE | Josh Okogie (lower abdominal strain) OUTDamion Lee (right meniscus surgery) OUT

Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball (right ankle tendinopathy) OUT | Mark Williams (low back injury recovery) OUT | Seth Curry (right ankle sprain) OUT | Cody Martin (left ankle sprain) OUT | Bryce McGowens (right knee sprain) OUT

Starters (Projected)

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkić

Charlotte Hornets: Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Brandon Miller, Miles Bridges, Nick Richards

Five Keys to Game for Suns

  1. Guarding the 3-point line
  2. Not overlooking the opponent
  3. Limiting turnovers
  4. Getting out in transition
  5. Crashing the glass

Prediction

Suns 120 – Hornets 102

With how banged up the Hornets are, and the fact they have the worst point differential in the entire NBA, this should be an easy game for the Suns. Phoenix desperately needs this to win what should be easy games like this. The Hornets are not a good 3-point shooting team on the season, but had the most 3-pointers made in a game against the Suns this season until Boston broke that yesterday. Now, Charlotte looks completely different from when they last played in Phoenix, so the Suns need to and should take care of business tonight.

Last Meeting (Dec. 29, 2023)

Devin Booker leads Suns to 133-119 win over Hornets

Team Matchup Notes

Here’s everything to know about the Suns and Hornets ahead of their second matchup this season:

Each team’s stats (via Suns):

Preview: Injury report

Key Suns player upgraded for tonight’s game against Hornets

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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