#703 Golden State Warriorsvs.#704 Phoenix Suns
Written by Chris Kubala
NBA: Sunday, October 30, 2016, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, 6 pm ET
Line: Golden State -11; Over/Under: 222
It’s a Pacific Division matchup in the Valley of the Sun. The Golden State Warriors bring their superteam to the desert as they battle the Phoenix Suns Sunday evening. Golden State bounced back from a whipping by San Antonio by dumping New Orleans 122-114 on the road Friday. Phoenix remained winless with a 113-110 overtime loss at Oklahoma City Friday. The Suns hold a 137-95 advantage in the all-time regular season series. Golden State won the last seven meetings, including all four last year. That includes a 112-104 win on February 10, 2016 in the last meeting here.
When this team was constructed in the offseason, swapping out Kevin Durant for Harrison Barnes from last year’s team, the Warriors were expected to bulldoze the competition. Instead, they came out with a 29 point home loss to the Spurs before clipping the Pelicans. Kevin Durant led the way against New Orleans, scoring 30 points and collecting 17 rebounds, all on the defensive glass. Klay Thompson contributed 28 points while Stephen Curry had 23 points plus seven assists. Zaza Pachulia posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Golden State shot 48.4 percent from the floor but missed 19 of 28 three point attempts. The Warriors hit 25 of 28 from the line. All their offensive production proved to be just enough to hold off Anthony Davis’s one man show for the Pelicans.
The Warriors come into this one 5th in the league in scoring with 111 points per game. Golden State stands tied for 20th in rebounding with 42 per contest. The Warriors are tied for third by dishing out 28 assists a night. Durant is the leading scorer early on in the season, posting 28.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Curry adds 24.5 points plus 5.5 assists while Thompson contributes 19.5 points a night. Draymond Green is chipping in with 13 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the early going. Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, David West and Shaun Livingston are key complementary pieces for the Warriors’ rotation. The Warriors are 5th in the league, shooting 47.7 percent from the floor as a team. Golden State is tied for 15th with eight triples a night while the team stands a paltry 25th by sinking a measly 26.2 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Phoenix had their chances against the Thunder after putting together a much better effort than in their opening loss against Sacramento. The Suns just couldn’t stop Russell Westbrook, who posted a triple-double while scoring 51 points. T.J. Warren led the Suns in the loss with 30 points plus nine rebounds. Devin Booker contributed 21 points while Brandon Knight had 19 off the bench. Eric Bledsoe was the other Phoenix player in double figures as he scored 17. The Suns shot 44.7 percent from the field but bricked 23 of 28 three point attempts. Phoenix also misfired on 11 of 32 free throws and lost the rebounding battle 57-44. That proved to be too many miscues for the team to overcome.
The Suns are tied for 18th in the league in scoring with an average of 102 points per game. The Suns are 19th on the glass by collecting 42.5 boards per game. Phoenix stands 25th in assists with 17.5 per contest. Warren leads the team with 22 points, seven rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Booker puts up 19.5 points a night while Bledsoe chips in 16.5 points, 5.5 boards, 5.5 assists and two steals per contest. Knight is good for 13.5 points a night off the bench. Big men Marquese Chriss, Alex Len and Tyson Chandler along with Tyler Ulis and Jared Dudley have to contribute for Phoenix to contend. The Suns are 9th in the league in field goal percentage at 45.6 percent so far. The Suns are just 27th in three pointers per game with 4.5 per contest. Phoenix is a dismal 28th in three point percentage as they splash only 20.6 percent of their chances from long range.
Everyone is waiting for that breakout game where the Warriors come out and absolutely bury someone. Granted, we’re only two games into the season but buzz around the league burns like wildfire and people want to see things NOW, not later. Facing a Phoenix team that struggles to stop teams with one option seems to point in Golden State’s favor. How can the Suns contend with a team that has multiple weapons? This one has blowout written all over it: give the points as Golden State should win by at least 20.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.