Preview: Phoenix Suns (17-10) at Golden State Warriors (17-13)

Time: 8:30 p.m. MST






The Phoenix Suns return from the Christmas break as one of the hotter teams in the league and winning eight of their last ten games, including a 106-102 win over these Golden State Warriors 12 days ago. The Warriors are coming off an emotional two point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day that saw multiple ejections and a scrum that broke out at the end of the game.

Two of the next three games for the Suns will be on the road against two Pacific Division rivals with a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers sandwiched in-between. The Suns have a 7-6 road record and are one of only eight teams to have a winning record away from home.

“Road wins,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said when asked what he is most proud of this season. “Winning on the road in the NBA is very difficult and to have a team with new guys not expected to do much, I think it is pretty good to be where we are at.”

Teams that have success on the road need confidence to do that. Hornacek believes that confidence came in early season losses to Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

The Warriors are 10-4 at home this season and the Suns will need to play a very sound game to steal one in Oakland. Here are my keys to the game.

Is Andre Iguodala a difference-maker?

He has been instrumental in the Warriors’ success this season and the team struggled by going 5-7 when he had to sit out 12 games — that stretch included the loss to the Suns. With Iguodala in the lineup, as he will be Friday, the Warriors are a 12-6 team. Iguodala fills up stat sheets every night, but it is his defense and Shawn Marion-like versatility that makes him so valuable. Hornacek mentioned how the Warriors have much more flexibility with their lineups with Iguodala in tow, so we will see if he can be the boost they need to defeat the Suns for the first time this season.

Who wins Round 2 between the guards?

Round one went to the Suns and their two lethal guards Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. Those two combined for 45 points on 6-9 three-point shooting. Bledsoe also contributed eight rebounds and eight assists. The Warriors’ duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are considered by many to be one of the top guard combinations in the league, but were outplayed by Bledsoe and Dragic in Phoenix despite the Suns backcourt scoring four combined points less. Curry and Thompson can get on a roll at home, and it will be imperative that the Suns do not let them get the home crowd into it early.

Which team can shoot better from deep?

This stat was close to a draw in game one with the Warriors going 11-22 and the Suns going 13-27. These teams rank in the top-8 of three pointers made, attempted and accuracy in the league. The Suns will need the recent hot hands of Channing Frye and Gerald Green to remain going Friday night if they want to keep up with Splash Bro’s and Co.

Tags: Andre Iguodala Eric Bledsoe Golden State Warriors Goran Dragic Klay Thompson Phoenix Suns Stephen Curry

  • EBJM

    This is a statement game for Phoenix with Iggy back.

  • hawki

    Tough spot for the Suns
    Warriors have won 3 in a row…..have revenge on their mind & it’s their last home game before embarking on a 7 game road trip….their longest of the season.

    Yeah EBJM, a win tonight would be a HUGE statement.

    ps….Golden State favored by 6.

  • Scott

    Goooooo Slash Bros!

  • Foreveris2long

    I have been to a home Warriors game and it gets really crazy. While Sacramento use to have the cow bells, I always thought the Warriors fans were more knowledgeable and provided a party atmosphere at their games. I would highly recommend going to one of their games.

    For a young team like the Suns, they will have to fight their emotions in not taking shots out of the game plan. It will be a feverish pace and the temptation for some to want to take over the game will exist. However Coach Horny does such an excellent job of keeping his finger on the pulse, the Suns have a fighting chance.

    It should be a fun game to see.

  • Rengaw

    Unlike the Spurs game where the Suns were forced into offensive situations they didn’t like, the Warriors should offer up more good shots for the Suns.
    I think a key will be how well Fry and Markeiff defend Lee and how well Markeiff can post up Lee. If the twins can go off, the Warriors are in big doo doo.
    For a young team, I am amazed at the poise the Suns show…even into the second unit.

  • Dave:f32

    Suns look terrible in the halfcourt offense against this Warriors team. They are playing lethargic, with lazy defense and uninspired offense!

    Can you imagine a 7-game series with these two teams? Suns would get slaughtered by this superior team, both in coaching and talent on the roster, as well as fluid halfcourt and fastbreak sets. Curry is like a Baby Nash , awesome court vision, energy, penetration and shooting!

  • Dave:f32

    Suns seem to be one-dimensional in that if they have no fastbreak opportunities, they jackup silly jumpshots. They are a true jumpshooting team and we all know the saying: when you live by the 3… these Suns are great when shots are falling but they all seem lost on the basketball court when they cant hit jumpshots.

    Thats when a true PF that can post downlow and kick to open shooters or hit the midrange jumper would be of most help

  • Dave:f32

    Suns need to improve their opportunities and finishes in the paint!

  • Dave:f32

    11 minutes of garbage time! Didnt see a whole lot of Dragic in the 2nd half, and maybe thats why their getting blown out. For all of the Eric Bledsoe accolades, he is nothing more than a supporting player to Dragics superman because he lacks a killer instinct and drive-first mentality. If Dragic gets traded, suns will be right on schedule with a #1 draft pick (Randle). I would hate to see Dragic go but …

  • BCrayZ

    @Dave -

    What you are saying is that we were better off before we traded Luis?

    Luis is a winner & it is too bad that he had to play with last season’s version of the Suns. The Pacers know a good thing & will not allow us to have him back. Much more realistic to get Louis A. (from the Pelicans) back here. Even easier to just sign The Brazilian Blur. Make it so Ryan.

    MUST reunite “that killer bench unit.” Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Dave:f32

    @Cray Cray BZ

    I have always admired ur posts btw. You have a lot of Suns hoop knowledge among other regulars who comment on this site.

    You gotta love VotS because of the freedom to speak freely and discreetly. No other bball website offers what this one does. Kuddos to the website and commenters, with the exception of Go Phx (jk;)

    To answer ur quest, Senior Suave was good but he didnt fit the Suns style-wise.

    Hes a solid bballer but im referring to someone LIKE an Amare type, who fits the mold of a fastbreak team but that will facilitate the overall halfcourt offense, slash and cut, pick n roll, pick n pop, interior scoring and defense, and who can thump it on the best of them!

    Leandro and Big Lou, we miss you! Must reunite that killer Suns bench, or create a new killer Suns bench. Not quite there yet, but certainly on our way… Go Suns!!!