When: 6:30pm AZ Time
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
Listen: KMVP 98.7
Currently seeded outside of the Play-In in 11th, the Golden State Warriors could get back to .500 if they can beat the Suns at home this evening. It’s been a battle to get this close as they’ve had to win their last three games to get this close to even on the season.
Phoenix is one of the hotter teams in the NBA themselves, also winning their last three games and 12 of their last 15. They had no issue with the Utah Jazz on trade deadline down, despite being without four outgoing players and Devin Booker, winning 129-115.
The outside noise that constantly leaks into the locker room when the trade deadline is around the corner, whether players like it or not, is now gone. Rumors and murmurs are now behind them. All focus can resume on the game of basketball.
Both teams have made what seems to be their final adjustments to their roster with about 30 games left to go this season. Phoenix added veteran three-and-D wing Royce O’Neale and second-year bowling ball David Roddy, while the Warriors traded Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers for a second-round pick.
One player who remained on the team? Veteran guard Klay Thompson. He is going through it this season. averaging 17.1 points (his lowest since 2013-14) and 37.7% from three (his lowest ever). Head coach Steve Kerr is just now adjusting to the fact they might need to continue to manage his minutes.
With Klay losing minutes, it is still a mental adjustment, just like it would be for any star in the league. “It’s hard for anybody,” he recently stated.
Klay Thompson: “Yeah, you kidding me? To go from one of the best players… It’s hard for anybody.”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) February 6, 2024
Draymond Green: “I didn’t close Game 5 of the Finals. Who the f*ck cares?”
On the other side of the ball, the Suns have found another reason to name Grayson Allen as their X-factor. He stepped in for Devin Booker against the Jazz and dished out a career-high 14 assists in Thursday night’s win.
This is the final meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division rivals. The Suns have won the previous three by an average of 5 points. It’ll be the first time Draymond Green squares off against Jusuf Nurkic since he socked him in the back of the dome.
Draymond Green swipe across the face on Jusuf Nurkic pic.twitter.com/BsQ5YHPWet— Oh no he didn't (@ohnohedidnt24) December 13, 2023
- Bradley Beal - PROBABLE (Right Ankle Sprain)
- Damion Lee - OUT (Right Meniscus)
- Chris Paul - OUT (Left Hand Fracture)
What to Watch For
Suns new addition Royce O’Neale will make his debut tonight and, with the love already shown from Suns fans and media on Twitter (or ‘X’, if you prefer), there should be a noticeable difference to our perimeter defense when he steps on the floor.
Not only are we excited, but Royce is ready to rock ‘n roll here in The Valley.
Royce rounds out a solid 7-man lineup for the Suns with him and Eric Gordon coming off the bench. Slowly but surely, Bol Bol is coming into the mix as well. Bol is the perfect addition of size and craziness coming off the bench for Phoenix. Bol is still learning, his minutes are adding up as the season continues.
The pressure in these Western Conference matchups will show his true colors. With only six points in the game against the Jazz on Thursday, Bol was able to come back in the fourth and help close the game out for the Suns on the defensive end with three blocks.
Bol Bol with the fake and throwdown!— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 9, 2024
Barkley: "You think Bol is good as Wembanyama?"
Shaq: "Yes, I do."
EJ: "He exploded for 6 points tonight." pic.twitter.com/A7hIYpJcCp
Key to a Suns Win
Play within your means.
The Suns are the better team this season. They’ve proven that in their three previous matchups, all of which Phoenix did not have their Big Three playing. Still, when you enter the Chase Center and Draymond Green is suiting up against you, it becomes more than a game of talent. It becomes a game of physicality and managed emotions.
The Warriors, with their ability to hit the three-ball — they’re 4th in makes and attempts and 9th in percentage (39.4%) — can go on runs in an instant. Those create fanfare, excitement, and a wave of chaotic emotion from the crowd.
As long as Phoenix sticks to who they are, not allowing the Warriors or their crowd to dictate the way they play, Phoenix can win.
I can see this going both ways, but I’m taking the Suns tonight. It will have to start on the defensive end of the ball early and carry throughout the entire game.
Suns 114, Warriors 110