3-on-3: Warriors at Suns, 6 p.m. (PST)
The Golden State Warriors (12-17) will start a six-game road trip tonight by making their first stop at the US Airways Center to take on the Phoenix Suns (14-19). To preview the game, Warriors World reached out to Michael Schwartz and Andrew Lynch of Valley of the Suns.
The Dubs rebounded from their loss against the Memphis Grizzlies last week with a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night, while the Phoenix Suns have won back-to-back games at home against the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards. One team will be starting a winning streak or another will be prolonging a current one; so what gives? Our bloggers share some insights…
1. In two games against the Suns this season, Monta Ellis is averaging 18 points and 7 assists per game on 30.6 percent field goal shooting. Is Grant Hill the Monta stopper?
Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: He really is. Last season it was the same story with Hill holding Monta to 19 points on 41.2 percent shooting and just four dimes. His length just really gives Ellis trouble and ends up forcing him into bad shots, but the Warriors guard can take solace in the fact that he’s got company in that regard.
Andrew Lynch, Valley of the Suns: While 18 and 7 aren’t exactly “Monta numbers,” they’re still nothing to sneeze at, so calling Hill the Monta stopper might be a bit strong. But Hill has been doing an outstanding job on shooting guards this season. He’s holding opposing 2s to a 10.2 PER this season, per 82games.com. With the lackluster offensive year Hill’s having, it’s a blessing to still be able to count on his lockdown defense.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Hill may not have the lateral quickness he once had (how many people remember that Grant Hill was actually LeBron James before well, LeBron James?) but his length and size are problematic for Monta. The former Blue Devil does a good job of fighting through screens and trailing Ellis and closing out on him on jumpers; and in addition his size essentially keeps Monta out of the lane for the most part and renders isolations plays almost useless.
2. Steve Nash has essentially owned Stephen Curry in the season series so far, should we expect that to continue?
Michael Schwartz: On the offensive end, most definitely, but like in the previous answer Nash torches most guards in this league. The truth of the matter is Nash and Curry both have no shot at guarding each other, and they seem to know it. In that first matchup in Phoenix I remember a sequence late in the game where they kept going at each other and scoring with ease, as if the other guard wasn’t even there. I expect big offensive games out of both Nash and Curry.
Andrew Lynch: With the kind of year that Nash is having, I see little reason to expect otherwise. He’s had a few off nights from the field lately and, as a result, has 12 or fewer points in five of his last six games. Nash is working on a 10-game streak of double-digit assists, though, and should be rested coming into tonight’s matchup. I expect big things.
J.M. Poulard: In their first head-to-head battle this year, Nash kept Curry on the bench by drawing fouls on him and in the second contest Curry struggled to assert himself offensively with Lee having a good game and Ellis dominating the ball.
Nash on the other hand was an impressive shooter, as he converted 9-of-13 shots in Phoenix and then dished out 14 assists in Golden State as the Warriors tried to trap him to get the ball out of his hands. Kid Canada will probably continue to excel against the Dubs but at some point Stephen Curry needs to remind the Phoenix Suns that he is a solid guard that is more than capable of matching Nash’s production, especially shooting the ball. I fully expect Curry to rebound and light it up against the Suns tonight.
3. The winner of this game will be…
Michael Schwartz: The Suns. They’ve seemed to find their offensive rhythm in their past two home wins over the Lakers and the Wizards. If they can handle David Lee better than they did last week in Oakland, they will win by double figures.
Andrew Lynch: The Suns. David Lee will likely get his numbers again against a front line that struggles to stop him, but I’m picking Phoenix based on the strength of the Nash/Gortat connection and the fact that they’re at home. I’m anticipating a close game, though, and really, when these two teams are involved, nothing is out of the question.
J.M. Poulard: The Suns. So far the home team has won both contests on the strength of their rebounding and ball security. Indeed, the host team has won both categories and I fully expect that trend to continue.
Game note: No Dubs Reactions tonight.