The Phoenix Suns don’t get limited to fewer than 100 points very often. They have an outstanding chance at an emphatic bounce-back game.
Scoring shouldn’t be scarce as the Suns visit the Golden State Warriors on Monday night in a matchup of teams that have used similar philosophies to much different degrees of success.
One of Phoenix’s worst offensive games of the season wasn’t enough to keep it from earning a 93-87 win over Portland on Sunday night. The Suns (44-26) shot 38.8 percent - their third-lowest mark of the season - and were held under 96 points for the fifth time.
Just five days earlier, Phoenix posted the highest point total by an NBA team this season, beating Minnesota 152-114.
The Suns are averaging a league-best 109.8 points and the Warriors (19-50) are second with 108.1. Meanwhile, Golden State has the league’s worst scoring defense, allowing 112.2 points a contest, and Phoenix is 28th at 105.8.
Phoenix leads the season series 2-1, averaging 120.7 points to Golden State’s 112.0. Each team has reached 100 points in their last 16 meetings, with the Suns averaging 119.0 and the Warriors posting 114.9.
None of those games went into overtime.
“It’s never easy playing those guys on the second night of a back-to-back,” Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire said. “They are so young and they just fast break and are up-tempo the entire game.”
Despite the similarities between the teams, Phoenix’s talent and depth has made it one of the Western Conference’s top contenders. Golden State, meanwhile, has the league’s third-worst record.
The Suns, winners of four straight, are one game behind fourth-place Utah. They are 18 games above .500 for the first time this season.
Against the Trail Blazers, Stoudemire led Phoenix with 18 points - nearly five below his season average. The veteran big man has had surprisingly unproductive performances against the Warriors this season, averaging 12.0 points over the teams’ last two matchups.
Stoudemire has a chance to take advantage of Golden State’s lack of height. At 6-foot-9, Anthony Tolliver(notes) has been starting at center for the Warriors due to injuries to Ronny Turiaf(notes) (knee), Andris Biedrins(notes) (abdomen) and Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) (Achilles’).
“There’s not much you can do as a coach,” coach Don Nelson said. “You can’t match up. You’ve got to play with what you have, and go to your strength. You can’t really make anybody pay the price of a matchup.”
During a 123-107 loss to Memphis on Saturday night, the Warriors at one point had four guards on the floor along with 6-foot-8 Devean George(notes) at center. Golden State allowed 121 points or more for the fourth straight game, including a 147-116 loss at San Antonio on Friday night.
A bright spot for the Warriors on Saturday was the return of promising rookie point guard Stephen Curry(notes), who missed two games with an ankle injury. He was held to nine points after averaging 32.0 over his previous two contests.
“I feel fine, but the injuries set us back a bit,” Curry said. “As a team we are just having trouble putting an entire game together. … With nine undersized guys, and really only one center on the floor, it is tough to match up with bigger teams.”