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Game Preview: Phoenix takes a brief road trip to San Francisco for a high-octane showdown

The Suns travel to San Francisco to take on the ascending Warriors

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (37-30) vs. Golden State Warriors (35-33)

When: 8 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

Watch: ESPN, Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

The Phoenix Suns have won all three matchups with the Warriors this season, and five of their last seven in the regular season.

These are two teams in the same realm of the wild Western Conference ranks, making this matchup all the more intriguing as it relates to the standings.

Golden State has gone 5-3 over the last two weeks, with wins over the Timberwolves, Blazers, Clippers, Pelicans, and (Giannis-less) Bucks.

Relative to their season-long trends, the wins all came at home, and the losses all came on the road.

They’re presently 7-26 on the road, and nearly the inverse at home, at 28-7. Tonight’s game against the Suns is at home for them.

Stephen Curry returned for them last Sunday, and they’ve gone 2-2 while he’s averaged 33.0 points on 50.6/48.1/94.4 shooting. The 48.1% from deep is coming on 13.0 attempts, including 50% on eight pull-up threes per game, mind you.

His off-ball movement and event-causing activity, as well as his drives (!), have added a much-needed infusion of juice to their offensive attack in restoring order.

Curry’s “Splash Brother,” Klay Thompson, re-found his rhythm in both shooting and general scoring while Steph was out with injury.

In said window (11 games), Thompson averaged 27.1 points on 48.0/46.3/85.7 shooting. He shot 46.3% from deep on 12.2 attempts per game, including 48.4% on nearly four pull-up attempts.

That shooting tandem percolating to this level, in that system, is enough to give them more than a puncher’s chance against anyone, regular season or post-season.

Defensively, the Dubs have had a ton of struggles over the course of the season with discipline plus sustaining success. They have not resembled the disruptive and dictating defensive that was at the forefront of a majority of their successes in reaching the mountaintop, again.

As it stands, however, the Warriors rank 12th in defensive rating (114.1), and 23rd in the half-court (99.1).

Over the last two weeks, they’ve started to turn the corner, coming into Monday’s matchup with the league’s second-best defensive rating, at 108.6, just behind Cleveland (107.3).

For reference, 108.6 defensively would be the best on a season-long scale.

They use a solid blend of traditional man defense with an assortment of zone looks, running a zone defense 4.8% of the time, which ranks 7th most and have compiled the fifth most total zone defensive possessions, at 316.

However, via that, and in alignment with their regression on the defensive side, they place last among the top 10 teams in points allowed per possession (1.082).

They still have one of the best basketball atmospheres in the world to call their homecourt, and do an elite job in performing to their engaged crowd, and protecting it.

Starting Lineups


· Chris Paul

· Devin Booker

· Josh Okogie

· Torrey Craig

· Deandre Ayton


· Stephen Curry

· Klay Thompson

· Donte DiVincenzo

· Draymond Green

· Kevon Looney



Landry Shamet (foot) is OUT

Kevin Durant (ankle is OUT

Golden State:

Andrew Wiggings (personal) is OUT

Gary Payton II (core) is OUT

What to Watch For

· Suns transition defense (was putrid vs SAC)

· Suns ball movement vs Warriors shaky defense

· Suns paint touches and how they’re generated

· Defense of the Warriors movement offense + off-ball screening + post splits

· Defense of the Warriors small-small screens

· Curry vs Okogie

Keys to a Suns Win

Defending without fouling has to be a point of emphasis, as it was maybe the main culprit behind Saturday's loss.

Staying sharp at the mesh point of switches, as the Warriors use more movement and off-script play than anyone, in an organized chaos-type manner.


The Suns will be in yet another back-and-forth affair in a raucous environment but win against a team whose number they’ve generally had the last three seasons.

117-108, Suns.

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