Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns Preview and Pick

Golden State Warriors (40-23) +6, 236 at Phoenix Suns (42-22), 10:30 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of

The two highest-scoring teams in the league hook up in a key Western Conference bout when the Golden State Warriors visit the Phoenix Suns on the back half of an NBA/TNT double-header Thursday night.

NBA Sportsbooks list Phoenix as six-point home favorites for Thursday’s game, with a total of 236. Also, the Suns are posted at around -265 on various Vegas moneylines, with Golden State getting +220 as road underdogs.

The Warriors beat Toronto Wednesday 117-106, covering the spread as 10-point home chalk, and earning their third straight victory and seventh in their last eight games. So heading into Thursday’s game, Golden State sits in third place in the Pacific Division, 4 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Lakers. But more importantly, the Warriors own the eight spot in the West standings, just one game back of the seventh-place Dallas Mavericks but only 2 games ahead of the ninth-place Denver Nuggets.

Phoenix pounded Memphis Tuesday 132-111 for its second straight win. But the Suns are only 5-6 with Shaquille O’Neal in the lineup. Phoenix sits in second place in the Pacific, three games back of the Lakers. And more importantly, the Suns are in sixth place in the West, a game and a half behind the fifth-place New Orleans Hornets and a half-game ahead of seventh-place Dallas.

GS has already beaten Phoenix twice this season, by scores of 120-118 and 129-114. But the Suns took three of four games from the Warriors last season. So over the last six meetings in this series, each team has won thrice, but Golden State has covered the spread four times. Also, five of the last six meetings between these two teams have gone over their totals by averaging 231 total points per.

In the Warriors’ two wins over Phoenix this season, they’ve outshot the Suns from the floor 53% to 50%. But Phoenix has outrebounded Golden State by a 97-73 margin.

This season, GS is 28-35 against the spread, 18-13 straight up and 16-15 vs. the numbers on the road.

Meanwhile, the Suns are 29-34 ATS this season, 23-10 SU but only 13-19 vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, Phoenix ranks 9th in the league in point differential at +4.5 per game, the Warriors 12th at +3.3.

Golden State is shooting 46% from the field as a team this season, 35% from 3-point range and 75% from the free-throw line.

At the other end of the court, the Suns are shooting 49% from the floor, 38% from long range and 79% from the line.

Also, both teams are allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the field. And these are the two worst rebounding teams in the league; Phoenix ranks 29th at -4.1 boards per game, the Warriors dead last at -4.8.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at rank the Suns 10th at 94.3, GS 12th at 92.5. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.3.

The totals are a combined 73-52 in Phoenix and Golden State games this season. Warriors games are averaging 218 total points this season, Suns games 215.

Zman’s Pick: This game is probably better suited to grab a bowl of popcorn and to watch with no bet on it. If forced to make a selection on this game, I see no reason why these teams can’t go over this lofty total. They simply don’t play defense and both teams are likely to be getting the ball up and down the floor like nobody’s business tonight. Unbelievably, they shouldn’t even have to hit a field goal percentage to make it happen either. There’s gonna be lots of easy baskets tonight.