Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors Preview
The Phoenix Suns will travel to the Chase Center for a matchup against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in the first of four divisional matchups. The Suns come into the contest as a pleasant surprise for their fans, and even hardcore basketball fans who had very low expectations set for them. They are 2-2 (a one-point loss to the Nuggets and another one-point loss to the Jazz) and have one of the league’s best offenses. Their two victories? A thrashing of the Sacramento Kings during their season opener and a shocking victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors are looking to find some kind of momentum after beating the New Orleans Pelicans 134-123 on Monday. Things have been tough, to say the least for the Warriors this season. I personally believed the post-Durant Warriors would be fine with Curry handling all the heavy-lifting and D’Angelo Russell manning the other guard position until Klay Thompson returned, but the reality is bleak. Two blowout losses and a win against the winless Pelicans make this a must-win game for the Dubs. A 2-2 record feels so much better than 1-3.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Channel: FSA, NBCSBA
Suns: Ty Jerome (O)
Warriors: Alec Burks (O), Willie Cauley-Stein (Q), Jacob Evans (O), Kevon Looney (Q), Alen Smailagic´(Q), Klay Thompson (O)
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
Well, what else could you ask for as a Suns fan? The team has gone toe-to-toe against some of the elite teams in the Western Conference and have walked away with a victory against the Clippers, one of the favorites for the title. Their most recent game, against the Jazz, was an especially tough one; the game was decided on a game-winning foul shot by Donovon Mitchell with 0.4 seconds left.
Offseason acquisition Ricky Rubio faced off against his former team for the first time and scored 10 points to go along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Those numbers are very reminiscent of his season numbers; He’s averaging 10 points per game, 8 rebounds, 9.3 assists, and two steals a night.
“The only difference not making the playoffs or making it is winning these kinds of games. I know we are young, we are learning, but we have to close out,” Rubio said after the tough loss to the Jazz.
Devin Booker is averaging 23-4-6 on 47 percent shooting from the field. Kelly Oubre is averaging 20-6-1 with two steals and a block per game. All while shooting 46 percent from the field.
The offense has also been humming for the Suns. When the news of Ayton’s suspension came out I thought the offense could end up being a disaster. It’s early, but the initial signs are promising for a team looking to build good habits. Their team numbers on the offensive end have been spectacular; they are 11th in offensive efficiency, third in net rating and first in assist percentage. The defense has been even better, and that is the biggest surprise. They are sixth in defensive efficiency and forcing their opponents to shoot exactly 40 percent from the field. This game will be a lot closer than I would have expected based on preseason predictions.
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup
It’s been tough living for the Warriors and their fans so far. After a run of very successful seasons in which they won three championships, they are now left with a team devoid of depth. After Steph Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green there are NBA journeymen (Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III), marginal players (Marquese Chriss) and unproven young players (Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole). The lack of depth has shown itself in a major way in the early stages of the 2019-20 season.
In the inaugural game at Chase Center, the Clippers showed up and beat the Warriors like a drum to the tune of a 144-122 victory. Then the Warriors followed that up by losing to the Thunder 120-92 during a Sunday matinee.
I knew the Warriors would go through some rough patches this season considering just how dominant they’ve been since 2014, but I didn’t expect this. Curry, who the basketball world was expecting to come out and start burning everything to the ground à la his 2015-16 MVP season has struggled to get a rhythm going. He’s averaging 24 points per game and 6.7 assists. Not terrible, but not enough. What has been terrible has been his efficiency, Curry is shooting 26 percent from distance on 10 attempts per game. To make matters worse, he’s averaging 3.7 turnovers a game.
D’Angelo Russell, who was brought in as a third “Splash Brother” has been whatever the opposite of a Splash Brother would be. The 6-5 guard is putting up shooting splits of 38-35-70. Not the kind of production the Warriors imagined when they received him in the sign-and-trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets. The shooting hasn’t been the only problem for Russell, while his defense has always been a weakness of his, through three games he has not registered a steal or a block. That’s tough to believe, but it’s true.
Russell’s individual defense isn’t the only problem, the Warriors as a collective are not good on that end of the floor. Opponents are shooting 54 percent from the field against them (30th) and 43 percent from the 3-point line (28th). They’re dead last in defensive efficiency and post a -11.9 net rating. The Warriors will have to hope their young guys can figure out how to defend soon or this is going to be a long season.
Key Player Matchups
Devin Booker vs. D’Angelo Russell
Booker and Russell are good friends and there was even traction on the rumors that Russell would end up on the Suns. I was personally rooting for this to happen. It didn’t, but we’ll get to see both guards line up opposite each other for the first time this season. I predict Russell will have his best game of the season so far. Booker isn’t an ace defender and Russell is due for one of his patented net-scorching games. Along those same lines, Booker should feast on Russell or even Glenn Robinson III, who will see time guarding the Sun’s shooting guard. Expect both guards to run a lot of pick-and-rolls and score a lot of points.
Ricky Rubio vs. Steph Curry
Curry has only played three games so far this season, and betting against the greatest shooter of all time is a bad idea, but Curry’s struggles go beyond his own abilities. His supporting cast isn’t great, so the attention he is receiving on and off the ball is making life hard for the legendary shooter. I expect a better showing from deep than we’ve seen so far from Curry, but Rubio is one of the smarter defenders at the point guard position and he’s a big reason the Sun’s defense has been so good. Nothing will come easy for Steph in this one, but he’s due a vintage performance.
Draymond Green vs. Dario Saric
Draymond Green has been solid this season, averaging 12-8-5 and coming off of a 16-17-10 triple-double against the Pelicans. Saric has been a bit of a disappointment so far, but he’s a stretch-four who can create offensive opportunities in the open court.
For daily fantasy, Steph Curry is your star pick-up in this matchup. Curry has come out of the gate slowly, but he’s too good of a shooter to continue to post such terrible percentages. He’s available for $9.6k on FanDuel with his projected fantasy points set at 47.5. Curry’s running mate, D’Angelo Russell comes in available for $8.4k (36.7 projected fantasy points) on FanDuel. Russell is averaging the second-most attempts from the field for the Warriors at 15 per game, expect that to continue.
Some other pickups: Ricky Rubio is going for $6.5k on FanDuel with his projected points set at 30.7 and Draymond Green is available for $8k on FanDuel with a projection of 42.5 on fantasy points.
Bet on Matchup
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