Washington Wizards vs Phoenix Suns 12/16/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Washington Wizards vs. Phoenix Suns Matchup Preview (12/16/21)
After back-to-back underwhelming performances, the Phoenix Suns will look to get back on track as they host the Washington Wizards. The Wizards started the season red-hot but have since cooled back down to a more realistic level. They have dropped five of their past six, with their only win coming against the league’s worst team (Detroit Pistons) in overtime. Washington’s fall from grace has hardly been surprising; it had to end sometime. Their roster is not good enough to be a top seed in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix has struggled in recent games, dropping a game against the Los Angeles Clippers without Paul George and barely squeaking by the horrendous Portland Trail Blazers. Luckily, Deandre Ayton is healthy again after an unspecified illness (non-COVID) kept him out for a few days. Ayton is imperative to this team as he is the Suns’ anchor in the middle and operates well out of the post and pick-and-roll. While the Suns will still not have Devin Booker for this matchup, they are in a prime position to get back on track here. Look at further analysis below to get an idea of the potential direction of this game.
Washington Wizards vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Odds
Washington is one of the worst teams on the road against the spread in the NBA. The Wizards are 4-11-1 as an away team ATS, only besting the miserable Portland Trail Blazers for the worst record. While Phoenix has not excelled in covering the spread this season, this one feels like a no-brainer. The Suns are one of the best teams in the NBA, and unless the spread is at a significant number, that will be my play.
The Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns hit the under in over 50% of their games. Still, Washington has given up substantial points to opponents in the past four games, including 116 to the Pistons, 123 to the Jazz, 113 to the Nuggets, and 116 to the Pacers. This is one of the rare occasions where I would recommend the over because I believe Phoenix and Washington will be over 100 points with relative ease. Phoenix should run away with the game, but it should be high-scoring.
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Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Footprint Center – Phoenix, AZ
Channel: NBA League Pass
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Washington Wizards Starting Lineup
Washington Wizards Analysis
While the Wizards have a record of 15-13, they have dropped five of their past six games and have not been resembling the team that rocketed off to such a strong start. Losses to the Nuggets, Raptors, Jazz, Pacers, and Cavaliers have quickly changed the outlook for this team. During this avalanche of losses, the Wizards have allowed opponents to shoot 38.6% from behind the arc, which would rank dead last in opponent 3P% (three-point percentage) if it had been maintained throughout this season. Until Washington decides to emphasize the defensive end again, it will struggle to win games. Even without Devin Booker, the Washington Wizards do not have the firepower to keep up with the Phoenix Suns’ offense, so they have to lock down on the other end of the floor to win.
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
Phoenix Suns Analysis
Phoenix has had only a few vulnerable moments throughout the first one-third of the season. The first moment was its first three games; it was smooth sailing after that. The other moment, in my opinion, was its road game against the Los Angeles Clippers, who were without Paul George. Still, the Suns were short-handed, and it is an absolutely forgivable moment. The Suns’ next game was a road win in overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers, which should not have been all that close. It is incredibly impressive, though, how many games Phoenix can win by a close margin. The experience it has having played in the NBA Finals last season is on full display. Currently, the Suns rank highly in every significant statistical category, except opponent 3P% (three-point percentage), where they rank 13th in the NBA. However, this will not be much of an issue against the Washington Wizards, who rank 26th in the NBA in 3P%. This needs to be resolved in the long term, but they won’t need it here.
Washington Wizards vs. Phoenix Suns Daily Fantasy Picks
Bradley Beal has to be much happier playing with this Wizards team than prior ones. The Wizards are overachieving, even though they are in a slump right now. Despite being projected as a bottom-half team, their record is over .500 through one-third of the 2021-22 NBA season. While Beal’s numbers are not as big as they were last year or the year before, he still can go off on any given night. On December 6th, Beal had a vintage game, dropping 34 points on only 19 shots. There is not the same potential for Beal to have massive games as often as in previous years, but you’ll be glad you took him when they do happen.
Cam Johnson has become a reliable offensive weapon for the Phoenix Suns, and it has shown over the past seven games. Despite drawing no starts, Johnson averaged 14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game on 44% from the floor and 44% from behind the arc during that stretch of games. Since Devin Booker will still be out for the next several games, Johnson will get a ton of usage in a Phoenix offense that needs him to fill a scoring void. As he continues to grow as a player, expect more 20+ point outings as well, which will significantly increase his value over time.