Dec 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) shoots the ball in front of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) in the second half at US Airways Center. The Suns won 106-102. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Look To Stay Ahead Of Suns In The Desert: Game Preview

The Golden State Warriors will take on the Phoenix Suns on the road in a matchup that could have an effect on the playoff standings down the road. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

In this year’s ultra-competitve Western Conference, every single game is important for teams vying for playoff positioning, especially when you’re facing a team that is breathing down on your neck in the standings.

That’s the situation the Golden State Warriors will be in on Saturday night, as they take on the Phoenix Suns on the road in a matchup that could have an effect on the playoff standings down the road.

The Warriors (30-20) are just a half game ahead of the upstart Suns (29-20) for the sixth seed in the West, and the Suns are hot, quite literally. They won five in a row in late January before losing their last two games to the Bulls and Rockets. Nonetheless, they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and maintaining their surprising season.

That would be the exact opposite of the Warriors’ season, which has not gone as well as expected, and adding to the fans’ ire, the team has been rather inconsistent of late. They are, however, coming off a big win against the Bulls on Thursday night without Andrew Bogut or David Lee.

Tale of the Tape

Warriors:

  • Points per game: 102.9 (11th)
  • Field-goal percentage: 45.7% (T-8th)
  • Three-point percentage: 38.2% (T-2nd)
  • Defensive field-goal percentage: 43.4 percent (T-2nd)
  • Rebounds per game: 46.0 (2nd)
  • Turnovers: 15.9 (29th)
  • Bench scoring per game: 23.1 (29th)

Suns:

  • Points per game: 104.7 (6th)
  • Field-goal percentage: 45.7% (T-8th)
  • Three-point percentage: 36.6% (12th)
  • Defensive field-goal percentage: 44.9% (T-7th)
  • Rebounds per game: 43.4 (14th)
  • Turnovers: 14.5 (17th)
  • Bench scoring per game: 37.7 (4th)

Quick Scouting Report

The Suns are a high-performing team on offense thanks to players performing over expectations. Goran Dragic should have been All-Star this season, and although they are without the injured Drew Bledsoe, Gerald Green is having the best season of his career. Miles Plumlee is having a solid rookie season at center.

On the bench, the Morris twins (Markieff and Marcus) will be a force to deal for the Warriors’ second unit. They also have the lightning-quick Leandro Barbosa and top draft pick Alex Len.

History Says

Although the season series is tied at one game apiece, history heavily favors the Warriors in this one, as they have won seven of eight over the Suns.

Injury Report

GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery), David Lee (left shoulder sprain/left hip strain) and Nemanja Nedovic (left hamstring strain/right foot inflammation) are out. Andrew Bogut (left shoulder inflammation) is questionable.

PHX: Emeka Okafor (herniated disc) and Eric Bledsoe (right knee arthroscopy) are out

Probable Starters

GOLDEN STATE (29-20) 

  • F Andre Iguodala (9.5 PPG)
  • F Draymond Green* (5.0 PPG)
  • C Andrew Bogut* (8.2 PPG) / Jermaine O’Neal (6.3 PPG)
  • G Klay Thompson (18.6 PPG)
  • G Stephen Curry (24.5 PPG)

*Green will start in place of the injured David Lee. Bogut is questionable with left shoulder inflammation. 

PHOENIX (29-20) 

  • F P.J. Tucker (9.2 PPG)
  • F Channing Frye (12.2 PPG)
  • C Miles Plumlee (9.3 PPG)
  • G Gerald Green (13.7 PPG)
  • G Goran Dragic (20.1 PPG)

Game Info

Tip-Off: 6:00 PST

Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

TV: LOCAL

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