Game On: Hornets @ Suns
Perhaps the toughest stretch of the season for the Hornets starts tonight in Phoenix (tip off at 8 Central): Five games, seven days, all on the road, three against Western Conference playoff teams. Not exactly a welcome sight when your team is banged up and has lost eight of its last ten.
The Suns are 40-26 on the season, 24-9 at home and have split their last six games. The had a big showdown with the Lakers on Friday in Phoenix but came out on the losing end, 96-102. Amare Stoudamire led the Suns with 29 points and 16 rebounds, doing most of his damage in the first quarter. Head coach Alvin Gentry was ejected during the fourth quarter for arguing with officials.
Steve Nash has been struggling in March, averaging 10 and 10, but also coughing the ball up more than four times per game and shooting well below his averages, especially from three (3-17, 17.6%). He’ll be playing in his 1000th career game tonight.
This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Hornets won just one of the previous meetings, 110-103 in New Orleans in November behind seven triples from Peja Stojakovic. On February 1, also in New Orleans, Marcus Thornton led five Hornets in double-figure scoring with 25 points, but the Suns got up big in the first half and had six guys finish with 10+ points en route to the 109-100 win.
The Hornets will be without James Posey, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Paul and Sean Marks. We posted a full report on them earlier. The Suns’ Leandro Barbosa has missed the last six weeks with a wrist injury, but is very close to returning and is listed as a game-time decision for tonight.
Pace: Suns 97.9 (4th), Hornets 94.8 (15th)
Offensive Efficiency: Suns 111.6 (1st), Hornets 104.4 (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: Suns 107.7 (25th), Hornets 106.2 (18th)
- Standings: The 32-34 Hornets are 10th in the West, seven games behind the 8th-place Blazers.
- Rival bloggers: Bright Side of the Sun | Valley of the Suns (THN)