NBA Game Preview: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns

Dec 24, 2021

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Game: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns  

Time: 5:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Warriors +4.5, Suns -4.5 

Total: 217.5 

The Warriors and Suns exchanged blows earlier in December. The Suns won at home 104-96 on Dec. 1. Two nights later, Golden State countered with a 118-96 win at home in Oakland. Since the loss on the 1st, the Warriors have gone 8-3 and Stephen Curry is doing his best to win a third NBA MVP. 

The two teams will meet again on Christmas Day in Phoenix. It should be the best game of the day featuring two top-five teams on both offense and defense. The Warriors rank No. 4 in scoring (111.5) and the Suns are No. 3 (111.8). 

Golden State is the best defensive team in the league right now. They hold teams to 101.1 points per game and have the best opponent field goal percentage in the league. The Suns aren’t far behind ranking No. 3 in points allowed per game and second in opponent field goal percentage. 

Devin Booker, who missed seven games with a hamstring injury, is back in the Suns lineup. Phoenix has won five straight games and they covered the spread in four of them. Booker is the Suns’ leading scorer averaging 23.2 points per game. Since his return, he has scored 16, 24, and 30 in Phoenix’s last three games.  

Unlike many teams in the league, Phoenix is pretty healthy. Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul are playing at elite levels and the Suns haven’t lost a home game since late October. Phoenix is 10-0 at home in its last ten games and is 15-2 at home for the season.  

Phoenix is one of the rare NBA teams that has what it takes to slow down Curry, who averages over 27 points a game. In the last game in Phoenix, the Suns held the Warriors star to 4-of-21 shooting from the field (3-of-14 from three) and just 12 points. Keep in mind that Golden State will not have Jordan Poole on Christmas Day. Poole had 28 points in that last game in Phoenix. 

Defense was the difference in the previous two games. The loser was held under 100 points. The Under is a big trend here for both teams. The Under has hit in 10 of the Warriors’ last 15 games overall. The Under is 14-4 in Golden State’s last 18 games on the road. In the Phoenix-Golden State series, the Under has cashed in 10 of the last 11 games.  

The last ten times these two teams have met, they have combined to score an average of 216.7 points. In the games played in Phoenix, the Under has hit the last six times in a row. More recently, in Suns games against teams from the Western Conference, the Under has hit in five of the last seven.  

These two teams rank No. 1 and No. 2 (Golden State, Phoenix) in defensive efficiency. It’s likely that defense will once again be the difference in this matchup.