Phoenix star guard Devin Booker is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday when the Phoenix Suns host the Memphis Grizzlies. Booker missed the past nine games due to a groin injury and the Suns are just 3-6 during his absence.
Booker injured his left adductor on Dec. 5 and Phoenix has badly missed his scoring and his on-court presence. He took part in all of practice on Sunday and said that only a setback would prevent him from playing against the Grizzlies. Memphis is beginning a five-game road trip and is looking to post back-to-back victories for the first time since late October after posting a 115-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. The win was only the third in the past 22 contests for the Grizzlies, who are 3-18 this season without standout point guard Mike Conley (Achilles).
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (10-23): Guard Tyreke Evans produced 30 points and 11 assists in the victory over the Clippers and topped 20 points in four of the past five games. Evans, who made a career-high six 3-pointers against Los Angeles, tallied 23 points in a loss to Phoenix last Thursday and is averaging 18.8 points - his best output since averaging 20.1 points for the Sacramento Kings in 2009-10. Center Marc Gasol is dealing with hip soreness but had 17 points and 15 rebounds against the Clippers for his 15th double-double of the campaign.
ABOUT THE SUNS (12-23): Small forward TJ Warren picked up the scoring slack with Booker out and scored 20 or more points in each of the past three games to match the longest such streak of his career. Warren had 24 points and nine rebounds in Saturday’s 115-106 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves to raise his average to 19.1, well better than his career mark of 12.6. Point guard Isaiah Canaan contributed 15 points and a career-best nine assists against Minnesota and has provided a huge boost since being signed by averaging 13.4 points over his first five games.
1. Warren scored 27 points as the Suns registered a 97-95 home win over the Grizzlies last Thursday.
2. Memphis has dropped nine straight road games since winning at Portland on Nov. 7, the franchise’s longest such skid since losing 18 straight during the 2007-08 season.
3. A Phoenix victory would give interim coach Jay Triano his 100th career triumph.
PREDICTION: Suns 105, Grizzlies 103