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Game Day Open Thread: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors

Phoenix Suns

Golden State Warriors
42-22 40-23
7:30 PM Pacific / 10:30 PM Eastern
Probable starters:
Steve Nash PG Baron Davis
Raja Bell SG Monta Ellis
Grant Hill SF Mickael Pietrus
Amare Stoudemire PF Stephen Jackson
Shaquille O'Neal C Andris Biedrins

The pessimistic way of looking at tonight's game is to point out that the Suns have lost all three meetings with the Warriors since last season's trade that brought Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson to Oakland. Another way to look at it is that all of those games have been on the road, and the last one was a two-point defeat without either Shawn Marion or Shaq in the lineup.

The Suns made the Shaq trade to become more versatile. They made a case for part of that by defeating the Spurs on Sunday, then blowing away the Grizzlies on Tuesday. But to truly be versatile, they also need an answer for the youthful, run-and-gun teams that play the way the Suns used to. Tonight, they face the best run-and-gun team in the league, coached by a matchup mastermind.

Irony of ironies, the Suns probably have their best shot at finally beating the Warriors if they slow the game down, pound the ball inside to Shaq as often as possible, and maybe try a few matchup tricks of their own (like say, giving D.J. Strawberry a shot at Baron Davis). You can bet money the Warriors will try to run Shaq off the floor, much like the Suns used to do. The key will be the Suns imposing their new style on the game, and turning it into more of a defensive slug-fest. In other words, the Suns need to play like the Spurs--methodically and deliberately.

Golden State of Mind has the view from the Warrior fan's perspective.

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