Pacific Division Mini-Series
One week down with one to go in the Suns’ slate of pre-season games. While the final scores of pre-season games are not indicative of much, team process and individual performances can be blocks to build upon. This week the Suns got to face division rival Los Angeles Lakers in a 2 game “mini-series”.
Game 1 vs LA Lakers (10/06)
In typical pre-season fashion, both sides were missing some star power in this matchup. With Devin Booker, Lebron James, and Russel Westbrook watching from the sidelines the Suns took on a different-looking Lakers team than the one they took down in six games in the opening round of playoffs last postseason. Only 3 members of that Lakers team remain. The results, however, did not with the Suns taking game one 117 to 105.
Chris Paul and Jae Crowder made their pre-season debuts and had immediate impacts. Paul racked up 8 points and 11 assists while Crowder added 13 points and 9 rebounds. Mikal Bridges led the way offensively with 15 points, Deandre Ayton followed him with 14 of his own while tallying 11 rebounds.
The bench unit did their part with Cameron Johnson dropping 13, JaVale McGee 12, Cameron Payne 11, and Abdel Nader with 10 of his own. The suns .5 offensive attack was on full display as the ball consistently found the open man for the best shot. Those are the little things to take from these pre-season games.
Game 2 at LA Lakers (10/10)
The Suns traveled to LA for their second matchup against the Lakers. Devin Booker and Lebron James were still out for this game, but Russel Westbrook returned to action for the Lakers. His addition did not change the end results as the Suns steamrolled LA 123 to 94. The Suns continued their balanced attack getting double digit scoring outputs from 6 different players.
Chris Paul led the team with 15 points, Landry Shamet contributed 13, JaVale McGee 12, Jalen Smith 12, Deandre Ayton 11, and Cameron Payne 10. The Suns’ level of firepower made them dangerous last season. The additions of Shamet and McGee are already adding to the difficulty teams face matching up.
However, Phoenix doesn’t just create issues on the offensive end. The Suns’ ball pressure was evident as they made life difficult for the Lakers forcing them out of their initial sets with regularity. That level of defense forced 23 turnovers from the Lakers including 9 from Westbrook alone.
The Suns’ fourth and final pre-season game will be back home vs the Portland Trailblazers. The game will be played at 2 pm Arizona time as the team pushed up their game to ensure that the Phoenix Mercury could use their home floor for game 2 of the WNBA Finals.
The Trailblazers are currently 0-1 in pre-season having lost their first and only game to the Golden State Warriors 121 to 107. Barring injury or rest the Suns fans will get the opportunity to see All-Star PG Damian Lillard and his deep three-point range in action. Though, it is not yet confirmed if that game will be televised.
Kings Ransom presented by DraftKings
If you haven’t taken advantage of Arizona’s new legislation regarding sports gambling now is your chance. As the season progresses we will go into more detail here on specific bets and trends but for preseason I will be sticking to spreads and over/under.
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Game 1 vs LA
The first game against LA saw a spread of Phoenix (-3) which they comfortably covered. The O/U for the game was 215 points. With a final point total of 222, the over hit.
Game 2 at LA
The Suns continued to be the favorite at (-3.5) and covered with ease winning by 29 points. The O/U was set at last games total of 222 however this time the Suns stifling defense held the Lakers to a measly 94 points and the game total was 217 and was a win for under bettors.
Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trailblazers
At the time of this article, the betting lines for the Suns’ final pre-season had not been set.
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