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Grizzlies vs. Suns Game Preview: Memphis Hopes to Smother the Blazing Suns

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The Grizzlies suffered a wire-to-wire loss Friday. Can they bounce back against a red hot Phoenix team on Sunday?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Suns vs Grizzlies coverage

More from the Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun

Injury List:

Phoenix Suns: NONE

Memphis Grizzlies: NONE

Recently From Phoenix:

The Phoenix Suns had a slow start to the season but have been blazing as of late. In the last ten games, the Suns are 7-3 and just had their four-game winning streak snapped at San Antonio on Friday. Also on Friday, the Suns acquired Brandon Wright from the Boston Celtics, who will undoubtedly boost the Suns' front court. The Suns look to improve to 23-17 and bounce back from a tough loss by winning on the road Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Recently From Memphis:

While the Suns have been rolling, the Grizzlies have been stumbling. In their last ten games, the Grizzlies are only 4-6. After themselves experiencing a four-game skid recently, the Grizzlies are now in the middle of a two-game tumble. The departures of Quincy Pondexter and Tayshaun Prince are all but official, and it remains to be seen if the Grizzlies will have their new addition from the pending trade, Jeff Green, in Sunday afternoon's match. Tonight's game is as good a time as ever to right the ship, as Memphis now has Zach Randolph back and will be welcomed into the comforting confines of the Fedex Forum.

Keys to Victory:

1. Guard the Three Point Line

Teams going off from beyond the arc has been a consistent problem for the Grizzlies as of late. And if they have any aspirations of winning Sunday, Memphis will make sure the Suns don't get into a perimeter flow. Phoenix is 8th in three point percentage (36.6%) and tied for 2nd in attempts (27.1). It's not just a coincidence that teams have been exploding from behind the three-point line against the Grizzlies, because Memphis leaves them wide open to take the shots. This might be because there is too much helping on defense, leaving perimeter guys open. With Zach Randolph back, I expect the defense to get back to what it was like in October/November.

2. Win the Rebounding Battle

Rebounding has been a small problem for the Grizz this season, as they're ranked 18th in rebounding rate this season. However, this is a bigger problem for the high-flying Suns, who are ranked 24th in this same category. With Zach Randolph back in the lineup, the Grizzlies need to crash the boards and not allow the Suns any second chance opportunities. With the Suns shooting so many threes, you can expect plenty of long rebounds in this game.

3. Force Your Pace

Phoenix is 3rd in pace, while Memphis is 27th. The Suns average 19.1 points off of fast breaks. Playing the Grizzlies' pace is pivotal in this game. Phoenix is such an athletic and fast team, while Memphis thrives on tough paint play and half court offense.  Fortunately, the Suns also average 15.8 turnovers per game, so if the Grizzlies can force turnovers and convert some easy buckets, Memphis will have an easier afternoon. But they can't allow the Suns to do the same. Though we thought "in the mud" games played by the Grizz were becoming a thing of the past, Memphis might need to force that kind of a game to beat the Suns on Sunday.


Final Call:

The Grizzlies will have a bounce back game Sunday, getting off to a quick start but ending up in a neck-and-neck battle with the Phoenix Suns. Zach Randolph, in his second game back from injury, will grab a double-double. Conley will have a nice performance against his stiff competition. The Grizzlies will force their pace and slow the Suns down. Memphis will guard the three point line and limit the Suns' three ball. The Suns will suffer their second straight loss and Memphis will win it 98-94.