Charlotte Hornets vs. Phoenix Suns Pick & Prediction MARCH 15th 2024

The Phoenix Suns have lofty aspirations and a desire to be compared to the best teams in the league.

That didn’t go well when the Suns made a stop in Boston on Phoenix’s current four-game road trip.

Phoenix (38-28) is presented a chance to rebound in the second game of a back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets (17-49) on Friday night.

The Suns fell for the second time in three games with a 127-112 setback to the NBA-best Celtics on Thursday night. Devin Booker had 23 points for Phoenix, which saw four of its players score at least 20 points.

“We’re just not where they are yet,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “And that’s the key word — yet.”

The Hornets are coming off Wednesday night’s 110-98 victory at Memphis, their second win in the last nine games.

Charlotte survived 20 turnovers in Memphis. But for the Hornets, the bigger topic was the production from rookie guard Vasilije Micic. He had career highs for points (25) and 3-point baskets (5).

“I try to play my game as good as I can. That’s me. I’m trying always to be better,” Micic said. “Our style fits me well. We play with a lot of movements, a lot of passes. I’m trying to fit in well because we have a lot of talented players who can score. The key is always to find the best man in the best position.”

The Suns couldn’t keep up offensive efficiency in the Boston game. Kevin Durant had 20 points but shot 9-for-19 from the field.

“He had some really good looks in the third quarter that didn’t fall,” Vogel said. “That’s the nature of the game.”

Phoenix topped the visiting Hornets 133-119 on Dec. 29 with Booker recording 35 points. He made five 3-point shots that night.

Terry Rozier had 42 points for Charlotte in that game, but he has since been traded. The Suns will want to do a better job on perimeter defense in the rematch on Friday after the Hornets compiled 23 shots on 3-point attempts in the December meeting.

Phoenix had long-range success as well, with Eric Gordon posting seven 3s.

But Thursday night in Boston, the Suns surrendered a barrage of 3-pointers, with the Celtics going 25-for-50 from deep. The 3s accounted for more than half of Boston’s 47 total field goals.

“They’re the best in the league at it,” Vogel said. “You can talk about all the ways you can try to limit it.”

Booker might have twisted an ankle late in the game Thursday, but Vogel said he didn’t think it was a serious ailment.

The Hornets might be gaining continuity after a rash of injuries changed the complexion of the roster, though Miles Bridges has offered steady production. Still, the objective is to find the best combinations.

“You want to play your best on the floor as much as you can,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said.

–Field Level Media

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