It's been a rough stretch of schedule for the Phoenix Suns (13-15) over the last four games. That they only managed one win out of the four was to be expected given the team's league-worst defense and last weekend's trade the moved 25 percent of the team's production. Dallas (23-5), Oklahoma City (21-10), San Antonio (25-4) and Miami (23-9) now give way to the Los Angeles Clippers (8-22) and prospects of a much needed win.
The Suns early Sunday game should be a nice opportunity to get some work in against another really bad defense which usually means the Suns can run their offense and overcome mistakes. Alvin Gentry's team is 8-3 against teams with a sub-.500 record (5-12 against plus-.500 teams).
The Clippers feature the league's best young player, rookie Blake Griffin who is averaging 21 points and 12.4 rebounds. Blake will be a test for the new front court alignment with Channing Frye at the power forward and Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez splitting time at center. I would expect all three with get the privilege of defending the multi-talented and uber-athletic Griffin.
Vince Carter (knee) hasn't yet practiced with his new team and on Friday was listed as questionable for this game. If he does play he will immediately move into the starting lineup to try and replace the scoring that the team was missing without Jason Richardson. If he can't go, Jared Dudley will again get the start. Dudley set consecutive career-highs in his last two starts but said that was mostly due to the way opponents were helping off him to defend Steve Nash and the pick and roll.
Even though Dudley scored a combined 50 points in his last two starts, the Suns need him more with the second unit which has been disappointing this season. Finding a consistent rotation and reliable play from the bench. In Thursday's game against Miami the Suns scored 21 points in the first nine minutes and then just eight points in the next nine with Nash on the bench.
The Clippers will be without big men Chris Kaman, Craig Smith and Brian Cook which leaves them with little depth behind starting center DeAndre Jordan. Former ASU Sun Devil Ike Diogu and former Sun Jarron Collins played a combined 21 minutes in the Clippers last game, a loss to the Houston Rockets on December 22.
The game starts at 1:00 p.m. local time and will be broadcast on UPN My45 in the Phoenix area and Sports 620 radio. Fans can follow along with the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.