The Suns big men are out. Can the Hornets capitalize?
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets are riding a three-game winning streak as they take on the Phoenix Suns, arguably the league’s best team, at home. These two teams played about two weeks ago in Phoenix and the Suns ran the Hornets out of the building in a 137-106 cakewalk.
Phoenix Suns Overview
The Suns have three important players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols in centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, and forward Jae Crowder. Phoenix has lost three of their last four games with their roster being in flux, but such is life in today’s NBA.
Among the visitors who are playing tonight, Chris Paul (14.4 PPG, 9.8 APG) and Devon Booker (23.6 PPG, 42.1% 3PT) make up one of the league’s best backcourts. Small forward Mikal Bridges (11.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG) is serviceable while fellow forward Cameron Johnson has really stepped up over the last two weeks with averages of 3.3 3-pointers, 15.6 points, and 5.9 rebounds per game. Jalen Smith started at center in the Suns last contest given the team’s COVID issues and scored 19 points with seven boards.
Guard Cameron Payne (10.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG) is the best bench option for the depleted Suns. Phoenix is so desperate for help down low in the absences of Ayton and McGee that yesterday they signed our good friend Bismack Biyombo.
How the Hornets Can Win
As of the time of this writing, both Miles Bridges and PJ Walker had cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and are questionable to play tonight. More updates are sure to come throughout the day, but needless to say their returns would be huge against a Phoenix team dealing with its own COVID issues.
With Ayton, McGee, and Crowder likely out, perhaps the Hornets can overcome their ongoing issues defending the paint and securing rebounds. The Hornets defensive issues have been well documented here at At the Hive and if there was ever a time for them to finally have a solid defensive outing and come up with a big upset win, this game is it.