What: Phoenix Suns (23-11) vs. Golden State Warriors (19-17)
When: 8:00 p.m. MST
Where: Phoenix, Arizona
Watch: Fox Sports Arizona, NBA League Pass
Listen: 98.7 FM
The Phoenix Suns hold the second-best record in the entire National Basketball Association. I’m sure you already know this, but let’s just take a brief moment of silence to appreciate that. Done? Okay, good. Now, onto the Warriors game.
The Suns will need to be sure to get the All-Star Break out of the back of their minds and focus on closing out the “first half” of their season strong to remain in sole possession of the 2-seed out West.
Along with that, a win would pull them to just 2.5 games behind the number one seeded Utah Jazz heading in the second half of the season.
The task might be a bit easier with the report this morning confirming that both Steph Curry and Draymond Green are out tonight and did not travel with the team.
Sources: Draymond Green and Steph Curry will not play against the Suns tonight. Neither made the trip to Phoenix. Rest for Curry, recovery day for Green’s sore ankle ahead of All-Star break.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 4, 2021
While this is undoubtably a break for the Suns, they should still not take them lightly because they’ve blown some games to teams resting stars multiple times this season already.
PHX: Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Jae Crowder — Deandre Ayton
GSW: Brad Wanamaker — Kent Bazemore — Andrew Wiggins — Eric Paschall — Kevon Looney
Suns: Cam Johnson— (Health protocols) OUT
Warriors: Kelly Oubre Jr.— (Wrist) QUESTIONABLE, Steph Curry— (Rest) OUT, Draymond Green— (Ankle) OUT
Keys to the Game
- Strong start
Jumping out to a large lead and not letting the Warriors hang around should be the ultimate goal. This is a game you’re supposed to win, and I believe Monty Williams will have the starters ready from the jump.
You don’t want to tax Paul and Booker with heavy 2nd half minutes, so getting them locked in for those first 30 minutes or so to ensure they can unload the bench would be ideal. They’ve certainly had trouble with blowing large leads, so it would be a nice setting to practice playing with a lead and improving in that facet of the game.
- Control the pace
The Warriors are at their best when playing up and down in transition. Take that away from them early and often and force them into their half court sets— especially without Curry — and you should be in good shape.
Now, you don’t want to play too slow, especially offensively, but if they can limit the Warriors’ fast break points then they should be a decent shape.
While the Warriors have improved of late defensively, that is largely predicated around Draymond Green who will be out tonight. If the Suns outwork the Warriors on this side of the ball it’s nearly impossible to see them dropping this game to the Steph-less Dubs.
Stay locked in and focused on this side of the floor with a break looming with be the ultimate litmus test for this Suns squad.
Suns take care of business, fight off a scare or two but ultimately win comfortably and head into the All-Star Break with the second best record in the NBA.