It’s an inter-conference contest down in the Valley of the Sun. The Washington Wizards continue a road swing as they make a stop to face the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Washington evened their record on their road trip by beating the Trail Blazers 106-92 Tuesday night. Phoenix is coming off a 126-113 road loss to the Raptors Tuesday night. The all-time regular season series between the teams is tied at 62 wins apiece: the Suns took a 122-116 road win in the first meeting this season on November 1.
Washington Wizards See Road Swing Continue
Washington bounced back from their 47 point shellacking by the Jazz to open their trip by downing Portland on the road less than 24 hours later. The Wizards look to improve to 2-1 on their trip and split the season series with the Suns here. Washington led by two after the first quarter before taking control with a 27-15 edge in the second quarter. The Wizards shot 47.2 percent from the field and connected on 11 of 25 three point attempts in the game. Washington forced 18 turnovers and held a narrow 44-41 edge on the glass. Bradley Beal led the Wizards as he poured in a career-high 51 points in the win.
The Wizards are 13th in the league in scoring offense with 106.1 points per game. Washington is 17th in the league on the glass with 42.7 boards per game. The Wizards are 21st with 21.8 assists per game. Washington is 11th in the league as they allow 103.8 points per game on the year. John Wall is second on the team with 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game. Bradley Beal averages a team high 23.3 points a game while Otto Porter Jr. (15.3 points, seven boards, 1.61 steals) continues to move along his development curve. Markieff Morris (9.9 points, 4.3 boards) and Marcin Gortat (9.5 points, 8.6 rebounds) are the other Washington starters and both are capable scoring options in the low block. Kelly Oubre Jr. (11.8 points) along with Jodie Meeks, Mike Scott and Tim Frazier will be looked at to contribute off the pine. Washington is tied for 13th in field goal percentage as the team shoots a collective 45.5 percent from the floor. The Wizards are 20th in the league with 9.4 triples a night while ranking tied for 12th in three point shooting. Washington hits 36.5 percent from downtown.
Phoenix Suns Glad to Return Home
Phoenix closed out their six-game road trip with a loss in Toronto to finish 2-4 on the journey. More importantly, the Suns lost their leading scorer as Devin Booker strained an adductor muscle and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Phoenix may have been a little gassed after playing their third game in four nights as they were down 13 after the opening quarter. The Suns cut the deficit to nine at the half but were outscored 42-33 in the third and that was more than enough for the Raptors. Phoenix shot 49.3 percent from the field and went nine of 24 from three-point range: they also turned it over 17 times and lost the rebounding battle 42-35 while failing to grab an offensive board. Booker had 19 to lead Phoenix in the loss.
The Suns are 9th in the league in scoring with an average of 107.6 points per game. The Suns are 5th on the glass by collecting 46.2 boards per game. Phoenix stands second last in the league in assists with 20.2 per contest. Phoenix is last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 115.7 points a night. TJ Warren chips in 18.4 points plus 5.7 boards a night from the small forward spot. Devin Booker puts up a team high 24.3 points plus 4.1 assists per game and will be the focal point of the offense for the foreseeable future. Big men Marquese Chriss, Alex Len, Greg Monroe and Alan Williams along with Tyler Ulis, Mike James (10.5 points, four assists), rookie Josh Jackson and Jared Dudley have to contribute for Phoenix to have any kind of success. The Suns are tied for 21st in the league in field goal percentage at 44.7 percent so far. The Suns are 26th in three pointers per game with 8.6 per contest. Phoenix is 29th in three point percentage as they splash only 33.7 percent of their chances from long range.
- Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Pacific
- Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
- Suns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Suns are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days
- Suns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Wizards are playing their third game in four nights, as are the Suns. Both teams are in one of those ugly four games in six night situations that the league has worked diligently to cut down on throughout the schedule. Both teams are missing key pieces as Wall remains out for Washington while Booker is out for the Suns. The difference between the teams is that the Wizards can withstand an injury to a big scorer while Phoenix can’t. Beal carries the slack and delivers a win for Washington on the road.
Pick: Washington Wizards -7.5
The Booker injury is a devastating blow to the Suns’ rotation: he was far and away the team’s leading scorer. Opposing teams will key more on Warren in the interim, daring other, lesser proven commodities to try and beat them. Washington got a massive bounce back win over the Trail Blazers after being suffocated by the Jazz. Beal’s showing was an eye opening performance and showed how dominant he can be when given the opportunity to be the focal point of the offense. it will be interesting to see how that dynamic unfolds once Wall returns to the lineup.
The under is 4-0 in the Wizards’ last 4 Thursday games, 4-0 in their last 4 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game, 9-1 in their last 10 games playing on 1 day of rest, 9-1 in their last 10 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game and 6-1 in their last seven against Western Conference foes. The teams have stayed under the total in five of the last six meetings in Phoenix and the under is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings overall. With Booker missing, this one stays under the total.