New Orleans Hornets vs. Phoenix Suns Preview and Pick – Point Spread

New Orleans Hornets (3-5 3-5 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (7-1 5-3 ATS) US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ 10:30 PM EST Wednesday November 11, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green of

Point Spread: Hornets +6 / Suns -6
Over/Under: 215.5

Tonight in the Valley of the Sun the red-hot Phoenix Suns host the struggling New Orleans Hornets. Even though the Hornets are coming off a win they are 2 games under .500 and they are in 4th place in the Southwest Division. Phoenix has won 3 straight, including beating the Celtics in Boston, and they are alone in 1st place in the Pacific Division. Without Shaq the Suns are, once again, a run and gun team and PG Steve Nash, who leads the league in assists, is playing great. To make matters worse for the Hornets’ star PG Chris Paul sprained his ankle in his last game and it may bother him in this one. He will need his wheels in this game to keep up with the high scoring Suns, who are the highest scoring team in the NBA this season.

In their last game the Suns beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night 119-115. The high scorer for the Suns in the game was Jason Richardson going for 29 points on 11/16 shooting. For the game the Suns shot lights out going 41/77 for a FG% of 53.2%. On D the Suns allowed the 76ers to shoot 44/82 for a FG% of 53.6%.

In their last game the Hornets crushed the L.A. Clippers 112-84. The high scorer in the game for New Orleans was Devin Brown going for 25 points on 8/14 shooting. For the game the Hornets shot 43/86 for a FG% of 50%. On D the Hornets allowed the Clippers to shoot 34/79 for a FG% of 43%.

This season the Suns are the highest scoring team in the league (110.9 ppg) while the Hornets only rank 16th (99.4 ppg). On defense neither team is playing great, as the Hornets rank 21st in points allowed (102.6 ppg) and the Suns rank 25th (105.8 ppg). The Suns are dead even on the boards with a rebounding differential of 0.0 rpg while the Hornets are worse at -2.4 rpg.

Steve Nash had the first 20 point 20 assist game since 2006 in the last Phoenix game and he was the last one to do it. Chris Paul has to try to slow him and the up-tempo offense of the Suns in this game.

All of the Suns’ starters can get out and run and all can score facing the basket. And 4 of the 5 can hit the 3-pt ball.

Since the Suns shoot so often the Hornets have to hit the glass hard tonight and not allow Amare Stoudemire (8.5 rpg) and a resurgent Grant Hill (8.6 rpg) to get a lot of rebounds, especially on the offensive end.

For the Hornets to win this game they have to slow down the tempo and hit their open J’s since they do not have a lot of size.

Peja Stojakovic (9.8 ppg) has regained his starting spot and he needs to knock down some 3’s in order to open up some space in the lane for the Hornets to operate.

Every Suns’ starter is averaging in double figures in points so the Hornets have to play a solid all-around game in order to win this game.

The Hornets have won 6 of the last 7 games against the Suns, but that was when Paul was 100% and they had Tyson Chandler in the middle.

David West (16.1 ppg) and Emeka Okafor (10.9 ppg)
have to help Paul out in the scoring department in this game.

On the injury front PG Chris Paul is day to day for the Hornets and SG Leandro Barbosa is day to day for the Suns.

Jason’s Pick: The Suns are scorching, no pun intended, and the Hornets are struggling with their star player dealing with an injury. Oh yeah, and the game is in Phoenix. Slowing down Nash and Suns is very hard to do, especially with a PG with a bum wheel. Look for the Suns to play their run and gun game and easily win this game. Take the Suns to win and cover the spread and whenever they play the Over bet is never a bad one to make.