NBA fans can unwrap a spectacular gift with a matchup of the two best teams in the league on Christmas Day. The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns have been jostling for position all season and the way things look it’s going to be a season-long struggle.
The clubs have met twice already this season with each winning on its home floor, so I guess that gives the Suns an edge in this matchup. And with the teams so evenly matched any advantage is a plus. The Dubs have yet to lose consecutive games following up their most recent setback with a 113-98 win over Sacramento on Monday night.
Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns Game Info
Saturday’s game will air live on ABC with tip off at 5 p.m. ET from Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.
Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns Odds
Golden State Warriors +6 | Phoenix Suns -6 (view latest odds)
Total: 218 (view latest odds)
Season To Date
Both teams will play games ahead of this matchup, but make no mistake it’s one they have circled on their calendar. The Warriors bookended a five-game road trip with losses to Philadelphia and Toronto. They were without five players in the Raptors game, including starters Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Alan Wiggins. Not surprisingly they suffered their worst loss of the season, 119-100.
Having Curry and Green back in the lineup for the follow up game proved fruitful as they combined for 46 points in the win over Sacto. Golden State has few weaknesses, but if you want to be picky four of their six losses to this point have come on the road, including a 104-96 setback in the desert at the end of November. It’s hard to complain about a 10-4 road record, but the Dubs are just 7-6-1 ATS in those games and they are 3-3 SU and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six roadies.
It’s hard to imagine but the Suns look better than the 51-win team from a season ago. The season didn’t start that way with three losses in four games, but they turned it on winning 18 straight games and 23 of their next 25 to take over first in the league standings.
They had a home win over the Warriors as part of that record winning streak, which was also stopped by the Dubs in Northern California earlier this month. The lineup got a boost with the return of Devin Booker, who scored 16 points in the blowout win over Charlotte. Booker, who averages 22.9 points, missed the previous seven contests, including the loss at Golden State on Dec. 3.
Golden State Warriors
It’s hard to say if this Warriors group is as good as the championship teams from a few years ago. They do have several of the same pieces in place and those are driving the club. Curry no longer has the weight of the three-point record on his shoulders since he passed Ray Allen during last week’s road trip. He is the rock, though, averaging 27.1 points while mentoring his younger teammates.
The thing about this club is the depth. The Warriors have a solid eight and can go 10 deep without much drop off. And they’re only going to get stronger with Klay Thompson and James Wiseman due back soon. They’ve also been one of the most efficient teams on both ends of the floor. They rank fifth in points per game and allow a league-low 101 points per contest.
The Suns have been as efficient on both ends of the court, which is why they are battling with the Warriors for the best record in the league. And the return of Booker will make them stronger. Booker missed seven games with a hamstring injury and the Suns went 5-2 SU and 3-4 ATS. They did get balanced production in the absence of their leading scorer with Cameron Johnson in particular stepping up. Johnson averaged over 30 minutes in those seven games scoring 14.6 points. He was the team’s second leading scorer in that span.
Booker returned on Sunday leading the Suns to a 137-106 rout of Charlotte. It was an easy transition with Booker scoring 16 points in 26 minutes while most of the starters sat out the fourth quarter. “I learned some things from the sidelines that I tried to implement. The machine keeps moving even in games we had people out,” he said. It was the Suns’ 14th straight home win after dropping their first two of the season.
Warriors vs Suns Predictions
Being good on both ends of the floor is always a recipe for success. And you can’t get much better than these two. The Suns are third in scoring and fourth in preventing points while the Dubs are fifth in scoring and allow the fewest points. It all points to a close game and one that will be tighter than the previous meeting.
Playing the second of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights without Booker, the Suns lost by 22 in Frisco a few weeks back. That won’t happen on Saturday and I expect the Suns will be ready to avenge their worst defeat of the season.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns +6 and UNDER 218
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