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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Phoenix Suns Game Preview

The Memphis Grizzlies look to start a new winning streak against the Phoenix Suns

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Phoenix Suns v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (31-14, 11-11 road) vs. Phoenix Suns (22-24, 15-7 home)


WHERE: FootPrint Center— Pheonix, AZ

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis


MEMPHIS: Danny Green (Out, knee)

PHOENIX (from last night’s report): Devin Booker (out, groin), Deandre Ayton (questionable, non-COVID illness), Jae Crowder (out, trade demand), Cameron Johnson (questionable, right knee management), Chris Paul (out, hip), Cameron Payne (out, foot), Landry Shamet (out, foot), Josh Okogie (Out, nasal fracture)


MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

PHOENIX: Damion Lee, Mikal Bridges, Torrey Craig, Dario Saric, Bismack Biyombo

In the season series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns, we haven’t experienced many close games. The Grizzlies won their first encounter in Phoenix by 25 points, then the Suns came to Memphis 4 days later and got revenge against them by 17 points. Last Monday, the Grizzlies walloped the Suns by 30 points.

So hopefully the trends don't repeat themselves here.

The Memphis Grizzlies just had they 11-game winning streak snapped against the Los Angeles Lakers. As they embark on this 5-game road trip — starting in the City of Angels — they hope to bounce back against the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, the home team has tumbled down the Western Conference standings recently with the injury to Devin Booker. They’re getting healthier, as Cam Johnson recently returned from a 37-game absence, and Booker is close to his 4-week timeline.

What must happen for the Grizzlies to return to their winning ways?

Phoenix Suns v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Feed Trip

Jaren Jackson Jr. only had 8 shot attempts in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Grizzlies are only 3-4 when he has single-digit field goal attempts — versus 17-4 whenever that mark is in the double digits. It should be a quota for Jackson to get at least 10 shots in a game.

It’s a mantra for plenty of Grizzlies’ fans: Feed Trip.

Jackson has a neat, diverse offensive game where he could be a floor-spacer when necessary, but is capable of capitalizing on mismatches through drives and post-up’s. The Suns offer a matchup where he could utilize his skillset to get the Grizzlies to a win. They tend to go smaller at the 4, though they tried to bolster their size with Jock Landale at the 4 to counter Memphis’ size. Nonetheless, they don't have anyone that can offset Jaren’s skills.

Jackson has a skillset that could be an advantage for the Grizzlies on most nights, and tonight is a night they need exploit this matchup.

Secondary Storylines

  • No role player explosions. For the Grizzlies, it seems like role players have gone for uncharacteristic nights from downtown. The Suns have had that with Duane Washington, Damion Lee, and Josh Okogie. Washington’s shooting explosion catapulted the Suns to win in their 1st matchup. The Grizzlies need to shore up their perimeter defense in order to prevent any sort of shooting exhibition that could yield another loss.
  • Let it fly, Des. Prior to Bane’s injury, he averaged 8.5 three-point attempts, a desirable mark for shooters of his caliber. Since his return, that number has dipped to 6.5 — and in his last game, only 4 of his 15 shot attempts were from deep. Teams are going to try to run Bane off the line, and he’s putting work into his game to make himself a more lethal scoring threat. However, the Grizzlies need to set him up for clean arcs from deep. It’s a pivotal component of the Grizzlies’ offense and their winning ways.

The Memphis Grizzlies need to get a win under their belt before outings against the streaking Sacramento Kings and two teams that level ups their games against them in the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. The Grizzlies didn’t play up to their standards in Friday’s loss, and I expect a recalibration against the Suns.

Prediction: Grizzlies - 120, Suns - 112

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