A week ago when the Phoenix Suns looked at their schedule and saw that they’d be taking on the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena they were likely shaking in their Jordans.
However the Warriors have dropped two straight games, including an overtime thriller at home against the Chicago Bulls to snap their franchise-record 19-game home winning streak and a road loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.
Although Golden State (36-8) has slipped as of late they still boast the best record in the Western Conference by three games over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Suns (28-20) must feel optimistic heading up to the Bay Area after taking down the Bulls on Friday night at U.S. Airways Center 99-93 and finishing their franchise-long home-stand with a 6-2 record.
Jan 30, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forwardMarkieff Morris
hugs guardGoran Dragic
as Chicago Bulls centerJoakim Noah
(13) walks by after a timeout is called in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Bogut returned from injury in the losing effort against Utah. When Steve Kerr rolls out the starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Bogut the Warriors are 25-2.
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Golden State is currently leading the NBA in points per game with 110.9 and are also tops in the NBA in assists per game with 27.2. As if that weren’t good enough, their defensive efficiency has picked up as they are allowing just a hair under 100 points per game at 99.8.
The combination of points for and points against rank them at number one in the league with a +11.0 point differential average per game. Comparatively the closest competition in the average point differential category is the Atlanta Hawks, winners of 18 straight games, at a +7.3.
Phoenix currently has the seventh best road record in the Western Conference, 13-11, and it comes as no surprise that the eight teams currently holding playoff positions are the top-eight teams on the road in the conference.
The Suns still hold the eighth seed in the playoff picture as they are 2.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs and are up by 2.5 games on the ninth place New Orleans Pelicans.
In the only other time these two teams have met this year the Suns came away victorious 107-95 in front of their home crowd back in early November. That was the Warriors first loss of the season at that point. These two teams will meet two more times after tonight with another home game for each club.
What to Watch For:
January 2, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with guard Klay Thompson (11) against the Toronto Raptors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 126-105. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Curry is a front-runner for the Most Valuable Player award this year and it comes at no shock that he will be the starting point guard in the 2015 All-Star Game in two weeks. Curry currently has averages of 23.0 pts, 8.2 ast, 4.8 reb, and 2.1 stl on 49% shooting (39.3% from beyond the arc) and a 91.4% clip from the charity stripe.
Curry’s “Splash Brother”, Klay Thompson, will be joining him in New York for the ASG as well after his 52-point performance last week. The sharpshooter now has the record for points in an individual quarter with 37 after going 13-13 from the field, including 9-9 from three, in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings.
Thompson is much more lethal from behind the three-point line as he is shooting a career-high 45.2% from distance. Speaking of career highs, the former Washington State Cougar has compiled career-high in points (22.7), assists (3.0), steals (1.3), blocks (0.9).
The 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has been extremely efficient all year as he is putting up these great numbers in the lowest amount of minutes per game since his rookie season when he only started 29 games.
The Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. MST from Oracle Arena on Fox Sports Arizona.