The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a showdown between the streaking Phoenix Suns and star-studded Brooklyn Nets.
14:30 (AEDT), Wed 17th Feb @ Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
History: Played 90: Suns 46 V Nets 44
Last meeting: February 3, 2020: Nets 119 d Suns 97 at Barclays Center
Final Thoughts: Phoenix Suns head into their home clash with the big-name Brooklyn Nets as one of the NBA’s form teams. They are searching for a cleansweep of the Eastern Conference’s top four in the space of 10 days.
The 17-9 Suns have won nine of their last 10. Their current six-game winning streak includes victories over East heavyweights Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Phoenix trounced Orlando 109-90 two days ago.
Devin Booker has averaged 32.3 points across the Suns’ last four games and is gelling better with Chris Paul in the backcourt with every passing week. Deandre Ayton’s 12.3 rebounds per game is fourth in the NBA and is also combining superbly with CP3.
KD sidelined for Nets
The 17-12 Nets are yet to go on a truly dominant run, but they are winning enough games to stay within sight of the top of the East.
Brooklyn have won their last three against Indiana (104-94), Golden State (134-117) and Sacramento (136-126). Kevin Durant missed the latter with a hamstring complaint and is out today. Kyrie Irving is averaging 28.2 points per game this season, while James Harden has settled into a valuable all-round role rather than being a dominant scorer.
Against the Kings, Irving went off for 40 points, while Harden recorded 29 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists.
The Nets have won eight of their last 10 against the Suns, though the teams split last season’s two clashes. Devin Booker (27 pts, 9 ast) starred in a 138-112 Suns victory in Phoenix, while Caris LeVert (29 pts, 7 ast) led a 119-97 Nets win in Brooklyn despite a huge game from Deandre Ayton (25 pts, 17 reb, 5 ast).
The Suns’ offence is starting to match the top-four defence they relied on to bank early-season wins. The Nets score more points per game than any team in the NBA but are bottom-three for points conceded.
Phoenix are 10-4 at home and have the NBA’s second-best cover rate (17-9). Brooklyn are 6-7 on the road and 13-16 ATS. The Suns should beat a KD-less Nets, but I’m wary of the 5.5-point line.
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