The Phoenix Suns open their 2011-12 NBA season with a home game against the new look New Orleans Hornets. The Suns are coming off a disturbing 0-2 preseason that saw them blown out of two games against the Denver Nuggets. Phoenix starts their season with question marks around their new defensive system, point guard depth, and dealing with an injury to a starter.
The New Orleans Hornets lost Chris Paul in a trade and are very much a team in flux. The franchise is owned by the league and seems to be treading water until a buyer can be found. The Hornets did go 2-0 in the preseason against the Memphis Grizzlies but are not expected to be competitive this season.
Probable starting line ups and key injuries:
The Phoenix Suns suffered a blow in the preseason when starting center Marcin Gortat broke his thumb. Gortat missed the second preseason game but insists that he'll be ready to play on opening night. It remains to be seen if he can go and we likely won't know until the official starting lineups are released before the game. The injury to Gortat's thumb on his shooting hand will likely effect his shooting and is expected to take at least four weeks to fully heal.
The Hornets completed a trade late last week with the Memphis Grizzlies to address their point guard depth issue. New Orleans swapped SF Quincy Pondexter for PG Greivis Vasquez. Both players are late first-round picks from 2010 NBA Draft. Vasquez will start for the Hornets Monday night in place of Jarrett Jack who's serving a one-game suspension for DUI.
Probably starting lineups (subject to change):
- Point guard: Steve Nash vs. Jarrett Jack
- Shooting guard: Grievis Vasquez vs. Eric Gordon
- Small forward: Grant Hill vs. Trevor Ariza
- Power forward: Channing Frye vs. Carl Landry
- Center: Marcin Gortat vs. Emeka Okafor
Key reserves: Suns (Shannon Brown, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Markieff Morris) Hornets (Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu,Jason Smith, Greivis Vasquez).
Game schedule and broadcast information:
The Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Hornets tips off at 7:00 p.m. MT at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. The game will be broadcast on TV on Fox Sports Arizona and on radio at Arizona Sports 620.
Live online game thread and additional game information will be available at Bright Side of the Sun.
The Suns open the season with nine returning players from the last season and for the first time since 1990-91, will have the same starting lineup that closed the previous season (if Gortat starts the game).
The Suns are 23-20 all-time in season openers and are 14-5 when opening the season at home. The game will be the 683rd time Steve Nash has taken the floor as a Phoenix Sun.