Tuesday’s matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors certainly lived up to the hype. Phoenix ultimately emerged victorious after a back-and-forth affair, but the victory came at a cost. The Suns lost All-Star Devin Booker to a hamstring injury, which means he’ll be out of the lineup when the teams do battle again tonight in the Bay Area.
Phoenix was able to beat the Pistons on Thursday without him, but taking down the Warriors in San Francisco is an entirely different challenge. Phoenix comes into this one having won 18 games in a row, which is remarkable when you remember that they opened the campaign by losing three of their first four games. Both teams are 18-3 on the year and tied for first place in the Western Conference. The Suns are technically ahead of the Warriors by virtue of winning the lone head-to-head meeting between the teams on the year, but Golden State can seize back the top spot with a win tonight.
Oddsmakers expect them to do just that. The Warriors are listed as healthy 7-point favorites in this one at BetOnline. The game also features an over/under of 216 points.
Suns vs. Warriors Betting Odds
Over 216 points (-110)
Golden State Warriors
Under 216 points (-110)
The Suns pushed the Bucks to the brink in the NBA Finals over the summer. Some thought Phoenix was lucky to advance as far as they did. Phoenix wasn’t considered a title contender by many last season, but they wound up breezing their way to the championship round with a stirring playoff run. Based on the fact that they have won 18 straight games coming into tonight’s contest, it’s fair to say that last year’s team was no fluke at all.
Unfortunately, the absence of Booker certainly puts a dent into what should be a compelling game. Monty Williams opted to start Landry Shamet in Booker’s place in last night’s win over the Pistons, a move that paid off nicely. Shamet contributed 14 points in 31 minutes of action, while Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne supplied additional scoring off the bench. The two Camerons combined for 38 points, which more than made up for the absence of the Suns’ leading scorer.
Needless to say, this team will be up against it tonight. Going into the Chase Center and beating the Warriors is a feat that has been accomplished just once all year in 12 tries. Phoenix also has the disadvantage of having played a game last night before traveling overnight to California for this one. While Shamet, Johnson, and Payne will have to step up in the scoring department, the Suns will also need big games from Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton tonight if they want to extend their winning streak to 19. Paul finished with 15 points and 11 assists in the meeting between the teams on Tuesday, while Ayton contributed a team-high 24 points along with 11 rebounds.
The Warriors play one of the smallest lineups in the league, so don’t be surprised if the Suns try and exploit Ayton’s size advantage again tonight. Ayton’s 19 shots in Tuesday’s game were easily the most he’s taken in a game all season long. While most teams try to go small in order to match up with Golden State’s speed, we know the Suns aren’t afraid to let Ayton stay on the floor.
The Warriors had their seven-game winning streak snapped by the Suns the other night, but they’ll be ready for the rematch. Golden State has had a few days off following that game, which means they should be the fresher of the two teams for tonight’s showdown. The fact that this team is 18-3 with Klay Thompson and James Wiseman set to return in short order should be worrying news for the other 29 teams in the league.
The key for Golden State in this one will be Steph Curry. Curry is the early-season MVP favorite, and with good reason. He leads the team in scoring, averaging nearly 28 points per game, and Golden State is tied for the best record in the sport. However, the two-time MVP had one of the worst games of his illustrious career in Phoenix on Tuesday night. Steph finished with just 12 points on brutal 4-for-21 shooting from the field in 36 minutes of action.
Phoenix decided to task Mikal Bridges with defending Curry in that one, which worked like a charm. Considering Bridges’ success in keeping up with Curry, you’d better believe Monty Williams will deploy the same strategy tonight. So, Steve Kerr will be responsible for making the necessary adjustments to try and get his leading scorer going in this one. If Curry is off the mark again tonight, the Warriors are going to have a hard time putting the Suns away.
If Curry struggles again, the Dubs will have to lean more heavily on Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins to pick up the scoring slack. Poole led the way with 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting in the last meeting, and you can bet the Suns will gladly let him take as many shots as possible if it means Curry isn’t taking them. Wiggins was held in check in that one, finishing with just 10 points on 33 percent shooting from the field.
Suns vs. Warriors NBA Pick
Here’s hoping we eventually see these two teams square off against one another in a playoff series. Tuesday’s matchup was played with a remarkable intensity, and you can expect a similar focus from both teams in this one. While Curry’s matchup against Bridges isn’t ideal, it’s still hard not to expect him to find a way to make a bigger impact in this one. The Suns also have the serious disadvantage of having played just last night, which certainly benefits Golden State.
The 7-point spread is a bit high, but I still think the Warriors can cover that margin at home. With a raucous home crowd at their backs, I like Golden State to win and cover on Friday night.
Over/Under: Over 216 points (-110), Under 216 points (-110)
Prediction: Warriors -7 (-110)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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