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Game Preview: Struggling Suns (20-21) battle wayward Warriors (20-20) by the Bay

The two teams aren’t fighting for the conference, they’re fighting for relevancy.

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (20-21) @ Golden State Warriors (20-20)

When: 8:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

Watch: TNT, Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

The Suns didn’t get too comfortable in their own beds following a quick two-game home stand, for they are right back out on the road. Their four-game road trip begins on Tuesday night with a nationally televised bout with their Pacific Division rivals, the Golden State Warriors.

Surely the schedule makers believed that this would be an early January heavyweight battle. They wanted the names in lights: “Booker vs. Curry”. What they are receiving instead is a hampered Phoenix Suns team that is below .500 and a Warriors team without the face of the franchise who is sitting at exactly .500.

Not exactly the must-see television programmers had hoped for. But they may get Steph Curry back, who has been out the past 11 games with a shoulder injury. Because why wouldn’t he return when playing the Suns?

The Suns are playing tired basketball of late. The injuries continue to mount up. They may be with just one starter from their normal rotation in Mikal Bridges for this game, and even he appears to be compromised with his recent play.

Poor Mikal. No help. And no legs to take advantage of the scoring opportunity before him.

The Warriors have been up and down as well, losing their last two games against the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic. Prior to those losses, however, the team had won 5 consecutive games.

Will this be a battle to see who can actually survive the fourth quarter? Probably.

Starting Lineups

Who knows? See injury report below.



  • Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Torrey Craig (right ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Landry Shamet (right hip soreness) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Devin Booker (groin soreness) is OUT
  • Cameron Payne (foot) is OUT
  • Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (lost in the sauce) is NOT WITH TEAM

Golden State:

  • Stephen Curry (shoulder) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Andre Iguodala (injury management) is PROBABALE
  • Klay Thompson (left knee soreness) is PROBABALE
  • JaMychal Green (leg) is OUT
  • Jonathan Kuminga (foot) is OUT
  • James Wiseman (ankle) is OUT

Uniform Matchup

What to Watch For

Hey, we’re just here for the ride. It has been a roller coaster ride of late for Phoenix, it’s been like the Lex Luthor Drop of Doom ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain…it’s just a constant and terrifying plummet. This Suns’ team just doesn’t have what it takes right now to put together four consecutive quality quarters.

They’ve looked good through three quarters in numerous games during this losing streak, but it’s the fourth quarter in which the opposition bunkers down defensively, forces turnovers, and takes advantage of the tired Suns legs and inexperience of their two-way players.

Yes, the two-way players.

Ish Wainright is averaging 17.2 minutes (and 4 points) in the last 10 games and Duane Washington, Jr. is averaging 16.6 minutes (and 13.2 points) in his last 9 games. As much as we as fans appreciate them, that is not a recipe for success.

What am I watching for in this game? Anything that gives me hope.

Fun Fact

The Suns lead the all-time series record against the Warriors, 146-111. The last time it was even, back when the series standing was 44-44, was following a Suns win on December 20, 1983.

Not fun, but it’s a fact.

Keys to a Suns Win

The Warriors are compromised on the interior as both James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga will be out for this game. While Kevon Looney is a serviceable big man, the depth behind him is non-existent. What does this mean? The Warriors will be running small lineups the entire game.

Can the Suns take advantage of this?

This isn’t your standard five-out offense, simply because you have players who don’t get enough reps in that format to execute it effectively. If the Suns can impose their size on the interior and take advantage of the boards, it could equate to a much-needed victory.


The ultimate ex-factor in this game is the fact that Phoenix is on the road and the Warriors are at home. Phoenix is 6-14 on the road whereas the Warriors are 17-4 at the Chase Center.

I find it really hard to find a scenario in which the Suns can put together enough points to beat the Warriors away from home.

Warriors 109, Suns 99

When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube:

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