Preview: Golden State Warriors (0-0) at Phoenix Suns (0-0)

Golden State Warriors 87, Phoenix Suns 85



Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally here. After a seemingly interminable offseason highlighted by “Gangam Style” parody videos, the downfall of Lance Armstrong, and a shirtless Tim Tebow, the Phoenix Suns are finally back. Their season kicks off tonight against the Golden State Warriors in US Airways Center.

For the Suns, this season is about new beginnings. The roster is filled with players who will make their Phoenix debut tonight, and the overarching theme of the year will be how all these disparate pieces will fit together. No one knows how the Suns will finish, but for the first time in two seasons, there is hope that this franchise is building toward something. Tonight is the first real step in the post-Nash era, and that should not be overlooked.

The Warriors are also trying to start anew having brought in Andrew Bogut from Milwaukee after shipping out scorer Monta Ellis around last year’s trade deadline. In addition to accommodating new faces, however, Golden State also has major health concerns.

Point guard Stephen Curry and centers Andris Biedrins and Andrew Bogut all missed time in the preseason due to injury. Bogut and Biedrins have both been in practice the last few days and should play tonight in Phoenix. Festus Ezeli should see time at the five spot as well. As for Curry, he’s been held out of practice all week, ostensibly to allow him maximum rest for his ankle before the season starts. Curry is not listed on today’s injury report, so it’s more than likely he will play.

The Suns and Warriors met eight days ago in the preseason, with Golden State coming out on top 107-92. Both teams gave their reserves a lot of playing time in the game, so not much can be inferred about tonight’s regular season opener. The one result worth noting, however, was Marcin Gortat’s performance. After a very dismal preseason, Marcin posted 19 points and 10 boards against the Warriors. He did not miss a single shot from the field or the free throw line. He posted that line against backup Festus Ezeli, but nevertheless, if Bogut does not play big minutes tonight, the Polish Hammer could have a big game inside.

The matchup at the power forward position should be interesting as well. Both Luis Scola and David Lee are known more for their scoring than their defense. Lee is quicker off the dribble and can score in more ways, but Scola is a better jump shooter and post player. Both players are still adjusting to playing along side their frontcourt partners, Lee with Bogut and Scola with Gortat, so which of them has the advantage tonight could easily come down to who has better chemistry with their partner.

On the perimeter, Dudley and Beasley should have their hands full with Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush. Thompson averaged close to 18 ppg after Ellis’ departure last season. A big part of Mark Jackson’s vision for Golden State’s offense will be running Klay off screens to get him open shots. I expect Dudley to be tasked with chasing Thompson around the court in this game. That will put Beasley on Rush. Beasley’s goal will be to run him off the three-point line where he is most dangerous. Beasley has the size and athleticism to get the job done. The question that remains concerns whether he will have the commitment.

Rounding out the matchups is the battle of the ball handlers. If Stephen Curry is 100 percent healthy, his matchup against Goran Dragic should be one to watch. Both guys are very quick point guards who are equally skilled at distributing and scoring. Curry is a better shooter from outside, but Dragic is the superior penetrator. I expect both guys to finish with impressive stat lines.

Tonight’s game will generate a lot of scoring, and perhaps, a lot of answers to the plethora of questions surrounding the Suns heading into the year.

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Tags: Golden State Warriors Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns Preview

  • Scott

    If you go by draft position, it sounds like the GS starters are roughly equal to or better than the Suns’ starters, with each GS player having been drafted higher than their Suns counterpart except for Rush / Beasley.

  • bk

    Eric Gordon is out indefinitely with knee injury . Thanks Hornets match the Suns MAX offer.

  • Scott

    Not only is Gordon out, but his team is subtly questioning his commitment again.

    Coach Monty Williams says, “He probably does feel pain; that would be the only reason why a guy can’t play.”

  • hawki

    Curry just signed a 4 year extension for $11 million annually earlier today.
    Knicks-Nets game has been postponed due to the hurricane.
    Expect Dragic to have a big game tonight & can’t wait to see Beasley in Suns uniform.
    If Suns can hold their own on the glass, things should turn out fine.

  • DBreezy

    Didn’t Jackson announce a few days ago that Barnes and not Rush would be his starting SF?

  • silver

    I think the entire first stretch of our schedule will be determined by the play of our bench. We need them to keep leads and nights where the starters dig a hole we need the bench to dig us out. They have the talent they need to put it together. Telfair has to penetrate then kick it out, Brown needs to drive more and get to the FTL, Wes Johnson needs to be a spot-up shooter and get dunks in transition, Morris needs to take it to the basket instead of taking 20ft jumpers, O’Neal needs to stay healthy and give us defense, rebounding, shot-blocking, and give us that post-presence just like he’s been doing all preseason.

  • KeZ

    This season will be very interesting…

    Let´s get that first W tonight!

  • hawki

    @ David..(DBreezy)….yes, he did say that Barnes would start over Rush.

  • john

    I’ll be there cheering them on. I’ve been anxious for this season to get started.

  • suns68

    If Gortat shoots 100 percent this season, we should be really good.

  • john

    I really liked what I saw out of dragic and Tucker. Scola looked great. Beasley looked awful, brown was pathetic, gortat was soft as ever. This is going to be a LONG season if things don’t improve.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    You liked Dragic? Look at this FG%, just bad. 8 assists and 3 TOs. Don’t impressive neither.
    Gortat soft? The guy had 5 (five!) blocks, nine boards and 4 fouls.
    I think you watched a different game…
    Either way, Suns won’t win much this season.

  • http://none Keith

    Dragic, Scola, Gortat and Tucker were very good. Beasley and Brown were awful and then Dudz in the 2nd half couldn’t make a shot. But good defense tonight and the offense just didn’t get it done. 2nd quarter killed us. Got too far behind. But a lot of positives. Love the D!

  • Scott

    A narrowly lost game. The Suns definitely had their chances.

    The Suns look like they’re still trying to figure it out. I guess it would have been even worse if this was like last year, with no pre-season.

    Beasley in this game was like the historical Beasley … an inefficient ballhog who throws turnovers instead of passes and fails to rebound.

    I wasn’t that high on O’Neal’s play either. In nearly 14 min he pulled down 2 rebs and had a block; no points, but one TO. I thought they were the two worst performers on the court tonight.

    Brown had a team worst +/- of -15, but it looked to me like if he was having a bad night he was at least trying.

    Rather than taking Beasley out of the game altogether – as Gentry did – I still like my idea of starting him at 3, pulling him early to put Brown (or Johnson or Tucker) on the floor, and then having Beasley at 4 in the 2nd unit with Morris at 5. Then bring whoever is playing well onto the court to close out halves.

    Judging from his expression, I think Beasley noticed that it was Tucker who was in the game in the 4th and making a difference, and not himself.

    And what’s going on with Wes Johnson? He was glued to the bench.

  • john

    Stats don’t always tell the full story, sillmarillion. Gortat’s numbers weren’t awful, but he looked completely lost in the offensive scheme. His fouls were cheap fouls, not hard, punishing fouls like a big should dish out when someone tries to score on his hoop. The Warriors KILLED it inside. They obviously weren’t afraid of him and his five blocks. Landry single handedly won that game for golden state. Whose man was Landry?

    I love marcin. I want him to succeed, and he’s already been a big success, but last night he played a bigger role in the suns losing than almost winning.

  • john

    Wes Johnson being terrible at basketball might have something to do with that, Scott.

  • gordon

    @john: ” The Warriors KILLED it inside. ”
    pure nonsense

  • john

    @Gordon, prove it.

  • john

    @gordon, prove it.

    Facts are facts, so show them to me.