Suns (46-18, 21-9 road) at Cavaliers (21-43, 12-19 home)
- Time: 4PM PST – 6PM CST – 7PM EST
- Place: Rocket Mortgage Arena, Cleveland, OH
- TV: Bally Sports Ohio | Bally Sports Arizona | NBA League Pass
The Suns have their sites set on an NBA Western Conference regular-season crown and a 1-seed in the playoffs, but they have to run a gauntlet of seven road games in their last nine outings to secure those accolades for what has been a rebirth of one of the NBA’s proud franchises in the Valley of the Sun.
Phoenix is 0.5 games back of the Utah Jazz after they held off a stubborn Oklahoma City Thunder effort on Sunday night.
Cleveland is playing out the string and looking for a major position in the NBA Draft Lottery after the Cavaliers have lost six in a row 9-of-10 and 11-of-13.
This is the fourth game of a five-game home stand in which of course the Cavs are 0-3 and have been outscored by an average of 17 points per game in those three.
The Suns took a 119-113 win over Cleveland in Phoenix on Feb. 8. The Suns have won the last two games in this series which snapped a previous eight-game Cavaliers winning streak.
Last Time Out
The Suns snapped a losing streak in the Chesapeake Energy Arena which dates back to 2010 as they had an 18-point lead scissored to three in the closing seconds of a 123-120 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday evening. Devin Booker led the Suns’ attack with 32 points while Chris Paul dished 11 assists and Torrey Craig had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami took down the Cavaliers, 124-107, on Saturday night as they made 20-of-40 threes and assisted 30 of 37 baskets. Kevin Love made six three-pointers en route to his season-high of 25 points and Collin Sexton duplicated the points effort with 25 as well.
- Phoenix Suns – Jae Crowder (ankle), Abdel Nader (knee) – OUT; Cam Payne (knee) Day to Day
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Darius Garland (ankle), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion)
Suns (39-24-1, ATS):
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of the last 5 Suns’ games
- Phoenix is 2-4 ATS in it’s last 6 games vs. the Cavaliers
- The OVER has been the play in 5 of the last 6 Suns games
Cavaliers (24-40, ATS):
- Cleveland is 0-6 ATS in it’s last 6 games
- The OVER has been the call in 5 of the last 7 games between the Cavs and Suns
- Cleveland is 6-14 ATS in their last 20 outings vs. Western Conference opponents
Sports Psychology 101
The motivational factor for Phoenix to win is a big one in their game and then with a motivational presence like Chris Paul, there is potential for an early blowout. Also, the Thunder undoubtedly got the Suns’ attention on Sunday night, so this is about zeroing in and holding focus for Phoenix to stay away from a potentially debilitating upset.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Suns||-13 (-110)||-1000||O 218.5 (-110)|
|Cavaliers||+13 (-110)||+700||U 218.5 (-110)|
*Odds Courtesy of BetUS Sportsbook
Phoenix can totally take advantage of a Cavaliers’ defense that has been non-existent all season as opponents make 48.2% (28th/NBA) of their shots and 38.2% (28th/NBA) from three. Booker has averaged 30.6 points in his last five games while making 52.6% of his shots and getting to the line 31 times, making 26. Paul has made 58% of his baskets and knocked down 10-of-22 from a long distance.
The continued rise of Mikal Bridges is going to be a major storyline as we get into the playoffs. He has 12 made threes and is at 59.6% in his last five games as well.
Key Suns Stat:
DeAndre Ayton is among 41 bigs in the NBA who has defended at least 41 shots per game. He was third in this category a year ago behind Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. He has 71 blocked shots and 37 steals in his 64 games.
Bridges’ presence on both ends of the floor is something to consider when looking at this Suns teams and its matchups. He has 296 steals and 291 threes and if he reaches 300 in each by his 223rd game on May 9 vs. the Lakers, he would be the eighth fastest player in this history of the Association to connect on each.
Somehow Cleveland needs to come up big in specialty stats to have a shot. How the Cavaliers can handle the Suns on the glass will be a key. The problem is Cleveland is 28th in the league in rebounding (42.7 rpg); However, the Cavs accumulate 10.5 offensive boards per game and have averaged 10.1 points off rebounds in their last five. Phoenix is 18th in the NBA on the defensive boards at 34.4 per game.
Key Cavs Stat:
Cleveland’s young guns could be potentially try to turn this into a track meet. Collin Sexton has scored 20 or more points in 14 consecutive games while rookie Issac Okoro has scored in double digits in 10 of his last 16 games, including five games in a row.
Defending the paint against the size and athleticism of Ayton and Bridges and the dribble-penetration skills of Paul is a giant assignment for the Cavs who allow 50 points in the paint on average per game as opponents shoot 54.2% from two (28th/NBA).
Winner: Suns (-13) 120, Cavs 102