Suns’ Josh Okogie returns, Nassir Little in for Christmas matchup vs. Mavericks

Dec 25, 2023, 7:24 PM | Updated: 8:06 pm

Josh Okogie...

Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns will get wing Josh Okogie’s defensive energy back on Monday, as he is available to play against the Dallas Mavericks after missing five games.

Okogie had started five of seven games before going out with a hip injury and was initially ruled probable to play on Monday. Phoenix went 1-4 over its last five contests entering the Christmas showdown. Okogie averages 15.0 points on 41.7% shooting, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per 100 possessions this year and scores 6.5 points in 21.3 minutes per game.

The Suns also ruled forward Nassir Little questionable due to left knee soreness, but he will go.

Little was deemed a late scratch on Monday evening after he started two of the last three games. The Suns upgraded him to questionable closer to tip-off and announced he would play.

Okogie and Little will come off the bench.

“Everybody has different skillsets, so we want everybody on the team to star in their role,” head coach Frank Vogel told reporters pregame. “Whether that’s to be a star player or to be a star defender or a star shooter, star rebounder, big man, whatever that may be, we want them to be able to star in their role.”

Additionally, guard Eric Gordon is available to play on his 35th birthday after getting ruled probable with right hip soreness. Bradley Beal (ankle) and Jusuf Nurkic (personal) remain out.

Gordon will start along with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Grayson Allen and Drew Eubanks.

The only question on Dallas’ injury report was the status of rookie starting center Dereck Lively II (ankle sprain), who missed the last five games. Lively will play, giving the Mavericks more size as Phoenix works without Nurkic.

The Mavericks won’t have Kyrie Irving (heel), Josh Green (elbow) or Maxi Kleber (toe), but Luka Doncic is coming off a 39-point triple-double against the lowly San Antonio Spurs.

Suns Christmas uniforms

The NBA does not have new uniforms for every team playing on Christmas this season, and the Suns will wear white. One alteration is the addition of a snowflake around the NBA logo.

The opening tip from Footprint Center is at 8:30 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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