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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 1/6/16

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Preview: Charlotte At Phoenix

When: 9:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona

The Phoenix Suns continue to find new depths and are showing an inability to compete against teams both good and bad during their nine-game slide. The Suns will try to keep the final score within 20 points when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

Phoenix’s slide has reached the point where owner Robert Sarver is railing against millennial culture in reference to disgruntled forward Markieff Morris while spreading around the blame. “The blame is to be shared from the top down,” Sarver told the Arizona Republic. “Our leadership needs to communicate better. It needs to provide a better culture that provides for more accountability and more motivation. We have a lot of good, young players. They need to be playing hard, aggressively and on the same page whether we win or lose. That’s what I expect going forward.” The Hornets have good, young players as well but are mired in a four-game slide. Charlotte allowed an average of 111.5 points in those four games and began its four-game road trip with a 111-101 loss at Golden State.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)

ABOUT THE HORNETS (17-17): Charlotte dropped nine of its last 12 games to reach the .500 mark after a strong start and is getting little production out of the frontcourt with Al Jefferson (knee surgery) out of the lineup. Cody Zeller is serving as the starting center and managed eight points on 2-of-7 shooting at Golden State after a seven-point effort in a loss to Oklahoma City. The Hornets are also smaller on the perimeter without Nicolas Batum (toe), who is doubtful to play on Wednesday.

ABOUT THE SUNS (12-25): Phoenix just completed a four-game road trip in which it lost by an average of 20 points and finished up with a 97-77 loss at the Western-Conference worst Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. “Our team is just struggling right now to find our identity as a whole,” guard Brandon Knight told reporters. “We’ve got to figure out what it means to be consistent on both ends of the floor. I think that’s the signs of a young team.” The team got even younger with the season-ending injury to Eric Bledsoe last month, and rookie guard Devin Booker is averaging 12.4 points in five games as Bledsoe’s replacement in the starting lineup.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Knight went 3-of-16 from 3-point range on the four-game road trip.

2. Hornets G Kemba Walker is averaging 27.8 points in the last five games.

3. The road team took each of the two meetings last season, with Charlotte grabbing a 103-95 victory in Phoenix on Nov. 14, 2014.

PREDICTION: Hornets 116, Suns 98