Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Hornacek, Goran Dragic

Struggling Suns to start Eric Bledsoe, bring Gerald Green off bench


Phoenix has to turn things around. Fast. The team is 3-7 in their last 10 and in the deep Western Conference that spells trouble — they have tumbled out of the playoffs and now are two games back of Memphis and Dallas in trying to get the last ticket to the postseason dance.

Jeff Hornacek is hoping Eric Bledsoe is the answer.

Bledsoe returned to the Suns lineup Wednesday after missing more than eight weeks and already Hornacek is putting him in the starting lineup.

Green has played well in a starters role, but the Suns have to do something.

Phoenix’s defense has been its biggest problem, giving up 9 more points per 100 possessions in its last 10 games than its season average. They are still running and scoring, they just are not getting stops.

The Suns have lost three in a row and you can understand losses to good Warriors and Clippers teams (and they beat the Thunder four games ago). But Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland hurt — that is a must win game for the Suns at this point.

Their next five games are at Boston, at Toronto, at Brooklyn, Orlando and Detroit — those are the kind of games the Suns have to win if they are going to make the postseason. In general their schedule is pretty soft the rest of this month but once the calendar flips to April things get very tough.

Phoenix has to win now. Hornacek is counting on Bledsoe to make that happen.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.