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The Pelicans look to trip up the Suns for a third time

New Orleans has enjoyed the most success this season against Phoenix. Can they maintain their streak?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the third time this season, the Pelicans will face the Suns, yet they probably won't mind. New Orleans has just 7 wins in their first 25 games this season, but two of them have come against Phoenix. In back-to-back games right before Thanksgiving, the Pelicans dismissed the Suns both times by a margin of 6 points. They scored 120 or more in both contests, a total they've only hit or surpassed in just two other regular season games. Yeah, playing the Suns has been good for the team's W/L record and individual stat lines.

Since the two losses, the Suns have managed to win just 4 of their last 12 games. Markieff Morris, a full-time starter since the start of last season, has disappeared entirely from the rotation.

Subsequently, trade rumors have continuously swirled around him including a possible deal for Ryan Anderson. According to reports, both teams have engaged in only preliminary talks, and with December 15th coming and going, there appears a good chance a deal may not come to fruition. Unless, of course, Anderson drops 40 points Friday night.

Keys to Victory

  1. Limit the effectiveness of the Suns' backcourt. Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe have helped Phoenix become the fifth highest scoring backcourt unit at 50.3 points a game. They're also none too shabby in the assist (5th), steal (1st), FG% (5th) and 3FG% (5th) departments. However, with all that usage, they are prone to turnovers (2nd most).
  2. Win the rebounding battle. The Suns are a ghastly 1-11 when they're out-rebounded, but 9-5 when they beat their opponent on the glass. According to statistics, defensive rebounding is especially important. The Suns are 9-2 when they finish with more defensive boards, 2-14 when they do not.
  3. Keep working on ball movement. The Pelicans ball movement against the Utah Jazz was a step in the right direction as they finished with 333 passes. In the two losses prior, they had made 291 and 282 passes respectively. In their two games against the Suns in November, they averaged 335.5.

What: New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns

Where: Talking Stick Resort

When: December 18th, 9:30 PM

How: Fox Sports New Orleans, ESPN, WRNO 99.5 FM (Radio)

Enemy Data: Bright Side of the Sun