Time: The Suns host the Clippers tonight at 8:30 at US Airways Center.
Records: Suns 14-28 (fifth in the Pacific Division) vs. Clippers 32-11 (first in the Pacific Division)
PG: Goran Dragic (14.0 points and 6.2 assists) vs. Chris Paul (16.6 points and 9.7 assists)
SG: P.J. Tucker (4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds) vs. Willie Green (6.5 points and 1.5 rebounds)
SF: Jared Dudley (12.0 points and 3.7 rebounds) vs. Caron Butler (9.7 points and 2.6 rebounds)
PF: Luis Scola (13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds) vs. Blake Griffin (18.3 points and 8.6 rebounds)
C: Marcin Gortat: (11.6 points and 8.9 rebounds) vs. DeAndre Jordan (8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds)
As the Suns return to US Airways Center for their first home game in the Lindsey Hunter era, they face a Clippers club that may be the deepest in the NBA. After power forward Blake Griffin and point guard Chris Paul, who both average over 16 points a game, the Clippers next two highest scorers come off the bench.
Shooting guard Jamal Crawford is averaging 16.6 points a game, while swingman Matt Barnes is scoring 11.2 points a night. Besides that duo, Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill and Lamar Odom can also put points on the board, as well.
In order for the Suns to win tonight, Phoenix’s second unit will have to be able to withstand the waves of talent that the Clippers throw at opposing clubs.
Phoenix won three of four meetings against the Clippers last season, overcoming deficits of nine or more in all three victories. Two of those victories featured two double-digit comebacks.
In fact, before the Clippers’ win on December 23 over the Suns in Phoenix, Blake Griffin had never won a contest in US Airways Center. The Suns had won 10 consecutive over the Clips.
Hunter at the Helm
When new Suns Head Coach Lindsey Hunter captured his first-ever coaching victory in his debut in Sacramento last night, Hunter became the ninth head coach in franchise history to win in his Suns debut. Hunter joined “Red” Kerr, Jerry Colangelo, Cotton Fitzsimmons, John MacLeod, Paul Westphal, Scott Skiles, Terry Porter and Alvin Gentry as the other Suns head coaches to do so.
Out of 15 coaches in franchise history to win in their debuts with Phoenix, only Hunter and Porter would earn their victories on the road. If Hunter captures another win tonight, he would become just the fourth head coach in Suns history to start 2-0.
Gentry, Skiles and Colangelo were the only other three to do so. Skiles’ 4-0 start is a franchise-best.