On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies will face off for the second time this regular season in a showdown of Western Conference powerhouses. The contest, set to tip off at 8:00 PM EST in the FedEx Forum in Memphis, will see how much progress each team has made since their December 23rd meeting when the Grizzlies handily bested the Suns 125-100.
Coming into this matchup, the Phoenix Suns will be looking to right the ship after dropping their game in overtime to the Denver Nuggets (21-11). Despite possessing a consistent offense during crunch time, they lacked strong defensive play in the late minutes of the game, something they must make amends for if they hope to challenge the Grizzlies on their home court.
Meanwhile, Memphis is coming off a loss of its own against the Golden State Warriors (16-18) and will need to focus on both sides of the ball if they are going to protect their house. With both teams looking to make up losing ground, there is no telling what heart-stopping plays and nail-biting moments this matchup has in store.
Both teams are still having a great season with Phoenix currently boasting a respectable 19-15 record while Memphis stands strong at 20-12. Both teams also took an L last Christmas, so who will have a better post-Christmas game?
NBA Odds/Game Lines: Suns vs. Grizzlies
DraftKings Arizona Online Sportsbook Odds
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Toughest Challenge For the Suns: Injuries
It has been a difficult month for the Phoenix Suns, dealing with a plethora of injuries. Devin Booker (left groin straight) and Landry Shamet (right Achilles soreness) will not be available on Tuesday as they continue to battle their respective ailments, while Cameron Payne (right foot strain) and Cameron Johnson (meniscus tear) are not available for a longer period.
Shamet provided an impressive outing against Denver on Christmas Day. He had a season-high 31 points off the bench and also made seven three-pointers – two of these coming during the fourth quarter as the team was able to find themselves after Booker’s injury earlier in the game. He will be out for the ninth time this season while Booker already missed five games, including their latest loss to the Griz.
Meanwhile, Payne will be sidelined for the seventh consecutive game after exiting last December 13 during their 111-97 loss to Houston Rockets (10-23)
It remains to be seen how long these players will remain sidelined but it is clear that the Suns’ medical staff have their work cut out for them this early in the season.
Griz Needs to be More Efficient
Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies have had a successful season to this point, as they are just one game behind the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference. The team has been highly productive on the offensive side of the ball, with an average of 115.5 points scored per contest, good for ninth in the league.
Unfortunately, their field goal percentage isn’t quite as impressive, standing at 46.6% and ranked 19th among NBA teams. On defense they have excelled, allowing only 111.3 points per game and ensuring their opponents shoot merely 44.7% from the floor; both marks rank in the top ten league-wide. With this level of defensive intensity, it’s no wonder why the Grizzlies remain near the top of the standings.
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