Devin Booker’s Return Enough Reason to Back Suns vs. Grizzlies

Matthew Jordan

Monday, December 25, 2017 8:11 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 8:11 PM UTC

The Memphis Grizzlies make their second trip to Phoenix in less than a week Tuesday, with the Suns expecting the return of their best player in guard Devin Booker.

Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns (+1)Free NBA Pick: Suns +1Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Very unusual scheduling for these two. That’s because Memphis just visited Phoenix last Thursday, with the Suns winning 97-95 on a late 3-pointer by Troy Daniels. T.J. Warren led the Suns with 27 points, and Daniels -- acquired from the Grizzlies in September – had 14 off the bench. It was the Suns’ first home win since Nov. 19. Tyreke Evans led the Grizz with 23 points but missed his own 3-pointer to win the game. Memphis had won the past four meetings in the series.

So the Grizzlies flew home after that game to host the Clippers on Saturday, and Memphis won 115-112. That’s notable because it’s only the team’s third victory since star point guard Mike Conley was lost to a sore left Achilles in mid-November. There is still no clear timetable for his return, and the Grizz (11-21-1 ATS overall) have been easily the worst bet in the NBA without him. Now it’s back to the desert for Memphis.

Phoenix didn’t have to leave home after last Thursday’s win, losing on Saturday to Minnesota 115-106. The Wolves were up 21 at the half and Phoenix got as close as two late in the third before Minnesota pulled away with a 12-0 run.

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Voting for #NBAAllStar is live! Vote for @DevinBook now at and on the @NBA App to send him to LA! #BookEm

— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 21, 2017

Book It: Devin’s Back

Barring some sort of setback, Suns point guard Devin Booker is expected to return from a left adductor strain Tuesday after taking part in a full practice Sunday. Booker leads the team in averaging 24.3 points per game and had scored at least 30 in 10 of his previous 20 games before going down. Interim coach Jay Triano said any minutes restriction on Booker would be based on fatigue.

The Suns were 3-6 without Booker. Rookie Josh Jackson likely will return to a reserve role. Warren, meanwhile, has really stepped up of late in averaging 24.3 points and 8.0 rebounds over his last three games. Newly-signed Isaiah Canaan has been a revelation by scoring at least 10 points off the bench in each of his first five games as a Sun, matching Isaiah Thomas for the longest such streak by a Phoenix player in 35 years. Since Canaan’s addition, the Suns bench as a whole is averaging 51.4 points per game (that would lead the NBA) and has a net rating of plus-16.8. With Canaan playing so well, the team recently released point guard Mike James, who had started 10 games. His release came just two weeks after he became the first two-way player in NBA history to sign a standard contract.

Memphis is 3-18 without Conley this season and looks to end a nine‐game road losing streak. The franchise hasn’t lost double-digit road games consecutively since dropping 18 straight in the 2007-08 season. The Grizzlies are at the Lakers on Wednesday night so it’s possible a player or two sits out Tuesday ahead of the back-to-back. Chandler Parsons still doesn’t play both ends. JaMychal Green sat out Saturday with a knee injury so he surely won’t play both ends, either (if any). Marc Gasol was doubtful with a hip injury vs. the Clippers but did play.

The Grizzlies are 1-17 this year when outshot by their opponents. They have failed to cover their past five after a win, while the Suns are 4-1 ATS in their past five after a loss.

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