When and where: January 6, 2019, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ, 8:00 PM ET
The Phoenix Suns will try to avoid their sixth consecutive loss on Sunday when they host the visiting Charlotte Hornets. A home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday already puts the Suns at 31 losses on the season. They hope to salvage whatever they can from another disappointing year by knocking off a Hornets team coming off back-to-back losses to the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.
Turnovers cost the Hornets
The Hornets were already facing an uphill battle going on the road to take on a Nuggets team that is currently top-ranked in the Western Conference. There was also the daunting task of slowing down the Nuggets’ Swiss army knife center, Nikola Jokic. The latter proved to be a complete failure as Jokic heaped a double-double on the Hornets with 39 points and 12 rebounds.
While the Nuggets were in control throughout most of the game, there was never a point when the Hornets were completely out of it. They played a competitive game that ultimately came down to turnovers leading to the Nuggets’ 123-110 win.
"It’s everybody’s job to lock in and make sure we don’t give up easy threes, easy layups, or turn it over. I think we did all three of those in late three, early fourth." Head Coach James Borrego following tonight's game in Denver. pic.twitter.com/E3fOEB0JN8
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 6, 2019
The Hornets turned the ball over 17 times, and the Nuggets cashed in on a whopping 27 points off those turnovers. It was simply a careless effort on the road against a good basketball team. Hornets star guard Kemba Walker finished with a team-high 20 points, four rebounds and three assists to go with Center Bismack Biyombo’s double-double—16 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Losses piling up for the Suns
Whether the Suns are at home or on the road, losing has been the common theme. They have only won one game in their last seven, and Friday night’s loss to the Clippers marked their fifth consecutive defeat.
Their shooting wasn’t the problem against the Clippers as they finished 41-of-77 for 53.2 percent from the floor and 9-of-19 for 47.4 percent from 3-point land. The problems for the Suns were all mostly under the basket. They were completely bullied in the paint throughout the game and out-rebounded 55-36. The Clippers were ultimately able to get up more shots as a result. It also didn’t help that they gave up a grand total of 32 free throw shot attempts and 27 points off unnecessary turnovers.
It was a typical ugly game for the Suns, who are the only team besides the Cleveland Cavaliers that has less than 10 wins.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 5, 2019
Devin Booker finished the game with a team-high 23 points, three rebounds and four assists to go along with T.J. Warren’s two rebounds, two assists and four steals. Forward Richaun Holmes also had a solid night off the bench with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks.
- Suns are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a losing straight up record
- Suns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams in the Eastern Conference
- Suns are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Sunday games
- Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 head-to-head meetings
- Hornets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against teams with a losing home record
- Hornets are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against teams in the Western Conference
- Hornets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games
- Hornets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against teams in the NBA Pacific
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s time for a little upset special on Sunday.
The perennial doormat Suns will show a little fight in this game and pull off the upset win at home. While the Hornets are clearly the better basketball team on paper, they are also a surprisingly bad 4-12 on the road. It’s a stat that’s typically overlooked when people start bragging about them being the No. 8-ranked team in the Eastern Conference.
Their defense also takes a steep drop-off whenever they’re playing on the road as opposed to playing at home. They are actually one of the worst teams in the league in defensive efficiency on the road, and they give up an average of 116.2 points per game to opponents, which ranks as the seventh-most in the NBA.
The shots are eventually going to start falling for the Suns, and Booker is going to explode for a monster performance. Why not against a struggling road team like the Hornets? The Suns will win the game and finally get the 10-win monkey off their back.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns (+2)
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 7-0 in the last seven head-to-head meetings between the Suns and Hornets. While the Suns typically struggle offensively, they have shown the ability to get hot at times, particularly when they’re playing at home. This will be one of those games where the reigning 3-point shooting champion Booker takes over and runs up the scoreboard. Take the over in this one.
Prediction: Over (224)