NBA Preview: Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors Predictions, Betting Picks

Ricky Rubio: Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors predictionsThe 11-19 Phoenix Suns and 8-24 Golden State Warriors have certainly had eventful seasons so far.

Phoenix was supposed to be one of the Western Conference’s worst teams this season, but they started hot with a surprisingly impressive 5-2 record in which its two losses were each by just one point. The Suns have cooled off significantly since then, and now they have lost seven games in a row.

The Warriors were expected to be a playoff team and have been derailed by all sorts of injuries to key players. That got them off to a 5-24 start that included lots of minutes for no-name players. Most of the injuries are still in effect, but they have now won three games in a row behind a resurgent defense.

These squad will do battle in Oakland today (10:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBA TV). Let’s break down important storylines and the betting lines of this game before giving our Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors predictions.

Will Ricky Rubio Stay Confident In His Offensive Game?

Rubio has been a godsend at point guard for the Suns this year. His consistent playmaking has eased the ball-handling responsibilities for teammates who are less-suited to handling the ball. His 9.4 assists per game average is second in the NBA.

The major knock on Rubio has always been his jump shot. The 29-year-old veteran has had a shaky jumper from the midrange and three-point range throughout his career, and his defender often sags off him to let him shoot open jump shots. Sometimes Rubio is confident enough to shoot and score and sometimes he isn’t.

Recently, Rubio’s stroke has been working for him. He has shot 9-of-11 and 9-of-12 from the field in his past two games, respectively, against two solid defensive teams in the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets. Against a Warriors team that will have two unproven point guard defenders in D’Angelo Russell and Ky Bowman, Rubio needs to keep shooting and finding his spots on offense.

Will Damion Lee Stay Hot On The Offensive End?

The Warriors are simply outmatched in terms of proven NBA talent in this matchup. The Warriors have three established good players in D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green and Willie Cauley-Stein. The Suns have Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges and Dario Saric all playing in today’s game.

If the Warriors are to win this game, they will first need to play more inspired defense, like they have in the past few games. Second, though, they need to have their unproven players step up on offense.

Lee is on a two-way contract with the Warriors, meaning he can only stay with the team 45 days out of the season. However the 27-year-old is clearly outperforming his contract, with averages of 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and just 1 turnover in 27.8 minutes over his last seven games. His true-shooting percentage is a very solid 58.9 in that stretch.

The Warriors will likely rely on Lee to play big minutes and contribute quite a bit on offense in this game. Can he deliver with an efficient performance?

Can Suns Limit Live-Ball Turnovers?

While the Suns do have more recognizable names on their roster, the Warriors have the quicker, more athletic team. Lots of Golden State players are also still looking to prove themselves, which means they are playing very hard. The team is adept at playing aggressive defense to force lots of turnovers.

Phoenix is normally pretty good about protecting the ball but that has become more an issue on the team’s losing streak. The Suns are averaging 14.4 turnovers per contest in their losing streak, compared to just 10.8 turnovers per game in their previous 13 games.

The Suns should aim to slow this game down, play in control on offense and make smart passes. Golden State will likely struggle in this game if it can’t ignite its transition game with some steals.

Our Preview’s Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict

The Suns are on a bad streak, but they have come so close in many games and have now had a long layoff to evaluate what is going wrong.

Against a Warriors team on an emotional high, I think the Suns will come out with energy and recapture some of their defensive principles from earlier in the season and earn a win.