Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/8/18
The Warriors will be out to snap a two-game losing skid as they take on the league-worst Suns on the road.
The Golden State Warriors (57-23) are now looking so hot right now. The defending champions dropped their second game in a row as they fell at home to the New Orleans Pelicans, 126-120. They lost despite a 41-point effort from Kevin Durant and 21 points from Quinn Cook.
However, costly turnovers and poor defense condemned them to defeat. They had nine more turnovers than the Pelicans. Meanwhile, they gave up 126 points for the second consecutive game and allowed New Orleans to shoot a sizzling 56 percent.
The Warriors will look to bounce back against the Phoenix Suns (20-60), who went back to losing ways as they suffered a heavy 122-103 defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans in their most recent outing. That followed their 97-94 win over the Sacramento Kings, which snapped their 15-game losing skid.
With star guard Devin Booker remains sidelined with a right hand sprain, Marquese Chriss led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds. Rookie Josh Jackson had a strong double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Tyler Ulis and Dragan Bender added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Three keys to the game
Warriors retribution – Golden State didn’t exactly impress against the Pelicans, which is concerning since they’re a playoff team and the playoffs begin in a matter of days. However, the Warriors will have every opportunity to release any frustrations they may have following their back-to-back losses.
Golden State superiority – The Warriors have not had too many problems taking care of Phoenix. They’ve beaten the Suns three times over the past two months, with all three wins coming by double-digits. Obviously, Golden State are the superior team and the Suns don’t really have much interest winning these days.
Suns scoring – The Suns have won just two games since February, and those wins came against the Grizzlies and the Kings. It’d be a major shock if they came anywhere close to challenging the Warriors. But if it were to happen, it’d take a truly remarkable scoring game to get it done. That seems unlikely since Booker is still out, but given how lethargic Golden State have been playing of late, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
Matchup to watch
Kevin Durant vs Josh Jackson – Jackson has been given every opportunity to put up big numbers in the latter stages of the season, and he’s taken full advantage. He had a great time in a recent meeting against the Warriors, scoring a career-high 36 points.
Durant was not present in that game, but he made up for it with a near-triple-double in their matchup last week. The Suns’ sorry defense should give him a great opportunity to fine-tune his rhythm as they playoffs creep closer.
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG – Quinn Cook | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – JaVale McGee
Suns projected starting lineup
PG – Tyler Ulis | SG – Shaquille Harrison | SF – Josh Jackson | PF – Dragan Bender | C – Marquese Chriss
Durant can obviously put up another 40-point game against the Suns, but don’t overlook Quinn Cook. The point guard has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Stephen Curry, and he’s been productive against the Suns. He’s averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals while shooting a sizzling 64 percent from the field in two games against them.
As for the Suns, Jackson has been remarkably consistent in terms of putting up outstanding fantasy numbers. He’s recorded at least two steals in ten of his last 12 games. But apart from him, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis also deserve consideration. Chriss has been filling up the stat sheet to the tune of 15.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.4 steals in his last five games. Meanwhile, point guard Tyler Ulis is putting up 16.0 points, 4.2 boards, and 7.2 assists over the same span.
This game is the Warriors’ to lose. If they conspire to lose to the league’s worst team, serious question marks must now be asked of them ahead of the postseason. It’s just a matter of the margin of victory.
They defeated the Suns by 15 points without Durant the last time they were in Phoenix, covering a 5.5-point spread. The line will be much larger this time around, but after losing to the Pelicans, expect Golden State to send a message in the form of a more convincing win.
The Warriors complete the sweep of the Suns as they win big, 126-104.
This game will be broadcast on NBA TV as well as Fox Sports Arizona and NBC Sports Bay Area. Tip-off is at 9:00 pm Eastern.