Let the Games Begin
The Bad, The Good, The Ugly
The Suns opened up the first week of the season against 3 teams that were in the playoffs a season ago. It was evident each wanted to send a message to the Western Conference Champions. As a result, the Suns walked away with a 1-2 record, all 3 games being blowouts. If one thing is for sure, the hunters have become the hunted.
Starting the 2021 campaign at home, the Suns took on the Denver Nuggets. A team the Suns took care of in four games in last year’s playoffs. Denver clearly remembered that. The focus and intensity level discrepancy between the two teams was apparent from the jump in a 110-98 loss for Phoenix.
The Nuggets came out hot while it looked like there was a lid on the Suns’ basket. Deandre Ayton was the only Suns starter to get anything going in the first period. He would finish the game with 15 points and 6 rebounds. The Suns’ bench finished the opening quarter strong to keep the game within 6.
That stretch continued in the 2nd quarter led by Landry Shamet (11 points for the game), Cameron Payne (10 points), and Cameron Johnson (11 points). The defensive intensity ratcheted up for Phoenix and shots fell in bunches and they took a 7 point lead (58-51) into the half. From there out it was all Denver as Phoenix scored just 40 second-half points including 16 in the fourth quarter. Last year’s MVP Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
There are certain games Suns fans circle on their schedules, matchups against the Lakers are certainly among them.
It was another slower start for Phoenix as the Lakers took an early lead in this prime-time game. Lebron James got hot from 3 hitting 3 of his 5 in the first quarter in line for a 25 point output. The Lakers would take a 3 point lead at the end of the first. The next two quarters were dominated by the Suns outscoring LA 71 to 41.
Those quarters showed the defense and ball movement that made the Suns so dangerous last season. The stat of the game being the 31 assists on the Suns 42 made shots. Chris Paul led that category with 14 assists to go along with his team-high 23 points. He also became the first player in NBA history with 20,000 points and 10,000 assists.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 23, 2021
Two other Suns joined him with 20 point outputs. Devin Booker recorded 22 points and Mikal Bridges put in 21. The Suns led by 35 after 3 quarters. Trying to get on track the Lakers played their starters for the majority of the fourth quarter and ultimately got the game down to an 8 point game before the Suns stabilized with a 115 to 105 victory.
Sleep Walking Through a Back to Back
After beating the Lakers in Los Angeles the Suns traveled to Portland the following night. While the Suns were technically present, they did not show up. They were outscored in all four quarters in a 134 to 105 loss. CJ McCollum was the main culprit for the Trailblazers offensive performance pouring in 28 points including 6 three pointers. His backcourt running mate, Damian Lillard, had 19 of his own with 8 assists. Portland as a team hit 21 threes as the Suns had no answers. Devin Booker led the Suns with 21 points and made history of his own passing Dan Majerle for the 2nd spot on the Suns all-time leader for three-pointers made.
The Suns will need much better effort moving forward as teams look to take them down. One stat to keep track of is the Suns starting unit which also had issues at the beginning of last season. Saturday nights game against Portland marked three straight games of slow starts for that unit. The Suns will likely be patient with that group, but if production doesn’t change, something might need to.
Kings Ransom presented by DraftKings
Denver at Phoenix Recap
Suns (-6), Over/Under (224)
As mentioned above, the Suns were defeated in their season opener 110-98. If you bet the Suns or the over, it was a double bad night for you. The tracker after game one shows Suns 0-1 ATS (against the spread) and 0-1 O/U. One popular prop bet I will constantly highlight is Chris Paul assists. He was set at 8 for this game and the over hit with 10.
Phoenix at LA Lakers Recap
Suns (-1), O/U (222)
The Suns turned things around for Phoenix bettors getting the 10 point victory over LA Friday night. The points total was much closer to the line but also was under at 220 total points. If you bet the over on Chris Paul’s assists again, you’d be happy with his 14 assist output. Deandre Ayton rebounds also hit the over with 15 compared to the line which was set at 8.
Phoenix at Portland
Trailblazers (-3), O/U (229)
The first time the Suns were not favored and apparently, it should’ve been by a lot more. Portland won the game by 29 as the Suns were not able to cover. With Portlands onslaught the over hit for the first time this year. If you’re looking for a theme early on, Chris Pauls’s assist total hit the over for the third straight game as he dished 11.
Suns are currently 1-2 ATS and the O/U currently stands at 1-2. Chris Paul assists, however, are 3-0 for the over.
The Suns will play just two games next week, both at home. Both opponents are teams that were not in the playoffs last year.
Oct 27 vs Sacramento Kings
Kings at Suns (-8)
Oct 30 vs Cleveland Cavaliers*
*betting lines have not been released as of the timing of this article.
It is not our recommendation that you bet on every game or bet that we highlight. We are here to display some of the Suns-related bets currently available to you. When done responsibly, gambling can further increase your interest in games, especially games you wouldn’t normally care about.
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Follow Jordan on Twitter: @J_Kartch