The Phoenix Suns enter Thursday night’s game vs. the Golden State Warriors with a rare and remarkable road win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Well Phoenix’s shocking away victory could be short-lived as they travel to a Warriors’ ball club that is 16-7 at home.
Suns Keys to the Game:
- Avoid the tale of two halves. The Suns are notoriously famous for their duality this season. In the first half, the Suns have “generally” demonstrated a respectable level of competition regardless of the opponent. But it’s as if a subordinate Suns doppelganger takes the floor by the start of the second half. If the Suns have any hope to defeat the Warriors at their home court, they must play all four quarters with high intensity.
- Goran Dragic came out Wednesday night and put on a clinic. If Dragic leads the Suns with the same conviction he showcased against the Trail Blazers, the Suns can be a very problematic team to defend. Nonetheless, Dragic may have to match his career-high 18 assists from last night if the Suns hope to leave with a win.
Warriors Keys to the Game:
- Be assertive early in the game. Just by glancing at the two teams’ respective records, anyone can see Golden State is the superior team in this matchup. So to keep it short and sweet, don’t play down to the competition!
- Be yourselves! The Warriors rank fourth in the NBA in rebounds per game and eighth in points per game. The Suns, on the other hand, rank 21st in the NBA in rebounds per game and 22nd in points per game. If the Warriors keep simple mathematics in mind, they “should” win this game rather convincingly.
Matchup to Watch:
Lindsey Hunter vs. Mark Jackson. Obviously the importance of rebounding and scoring is a given. What really might be most intriguing in tonight’s game is how Suns interim coach Hunter will rally a team destined for a top-5 draft pick?
Yet the same can be said about the struggling Warriors. How will Jackson get his team to respond to the Warriors’ recent losing streak?
“I am not going to jump off this ship,” Jackson said. “I believe in my guys. We have lost six in a row and haven’t played good basketball and I have been extremely patient. I love my guys and I believe in them but we have got to find five guys on the floor that are going to scratch, claw and compete because history tells me that the only way out of a funk like this is working our way out of it.”
Stephen Curry. Yes, he averages just over 21 points per game this season. However, the real test for Curry will be how well he defends Dragic following his performance the previous night. If Curry can bring Dragic back to earth, the Warriors will likely see a Suns team struggle to find any rhythm whatsoever. Granted, it probably couldn’t hurt the Warriors’ chances if Curry put the ball in the hoop on more than one occasion.