16-0 (7-0 ROAD)
7-8 (5-4 HOME)
|November 27, 2015
|Talking Stick Resort Arena — Phoenix, AZ
|6:30 p.m. PST
|National TV: NBA TV | Local TV: Comcast SportsNet | KNBR 680 AM|
|Blog Buddy: Bright Side Of The Sun|
|Stephen Curry||G||Brandon Knight
|Klay Thompson||G||Eric Bledsoe
|Harrison Barnes||F||Markieff Morris
|Draymond Green||F||P.J. Tucker
|Andrew Bogut||C||Tyson Chandler
|Kevon Looney (Hip) - Out
||Eric Bledsoe (Knee) - Questionable|
The Warriors are cruising like a well-oiled machine. Now that the record has been set (16-0 baby!) the Warriors can get back to just winning boring old basketball games. After running over the Lakers on Tuesday night, they have been gifted with some well-deserved minutes off over the holidays before traveling to Phoenix to challenge the Suns. They will have a happy meal at home with their families, rest their legs, and get into town to challenge a team that has always played the Warriors tough and tight.
Will the hangover from the win carry over? Will the Warriors lose their edge now that they have hit their key benchmark at 16-0? I just don't believe that the mental make up of the roster would allow that at this point, and they have plenty of realistic and attainable goals in their sights if they choose to continue out their winning streak. Sure, if the team is smart they will start reducing the minutes per game of their back court and stars, or even giving guys like Iguodala some extra rest. If they keep blowing out teams like they did the Lakers, they can get back to playing garbage time in the fourth quarter and reducing playing time minutes naturally.
The Suns are more pesky than their record shows. They sit in the top eight in the Western Conference at this early part of the season and serve as a real challenge to the Warriors. They have plenty of weapons, they give plenty of effort on the court. They have not matched up well this season against the West elite (though they did beat the Clippers the other night).
The Suns under Jeff Hornacek have their offense running and gunning at a Warriors-like pace, having one of the best scoring offenses in the league (#3 in PPG, #2 in pace behind the Warriors). They struggle to play defense however, falling in the bottom half in the league despite adding Tyson Chandler to their team in the offseason. They are anchored by their powerful back court in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, each averaging over 20 PPG per night. They have balanced the pressure off their star forward Markieff Morris, and are even getting scoring off the bench from T.J. Warren. They have a deep roster, their second unit can score on you, and they take care of teams they are suppose to beat. The challenge will be stepping up against a good defensive team, and thats where they seem to struggle. Can their high paced offense keep up with teams like the Warriors?
The hangover won't carry over, as the extra days of rest will do wonders for Golden State. I picture the streak continuing on against a tough foe, but I would take the "over" in this one. Even the Warriors at their best so far have taken their foot off the brakes on defense at time, and for good measure. They can afford to let their opponents score a few more points it if it means getting a bit more rest. This might come back to bite them against the Suns, but face it - they have too many great wing defenders to allow that Phoenix back court to go crazy.
I would still put it on the seven-game road trip as to where the Warriors will hit their biggest challenge toward ending the streak, because if you give this team and roster extended rest over a holiday, they are too deep and too focused at this point to let up.
Win prediction: In an old fashioned Nelly-type shootout, the Warriors win this game 120-109.
(Follow me on Twitter @badiehard)