Nets vs. Suns Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via PointsBet.|
The Nets face the Suns Tuesday night in Phoenix in their first meeting this season. The Nets will play the second leg of a back-to-back after facing the Kings in Sacramento on Monday night. They will have their hands full against the Suns, who have won six straight games — with three of those wins coming against top-five teams in the Eastern Conference.
This is the first meeting between James Harden and Chris Paul since each moved on from the Rockets and also the first time Steve Nash faces the Suns as a head coach after winning two MVPs as a player in Phoenix.
Will the Suns keep streaking, or will the Nets continue their trend of beating their best opponents?
If the Nets hope to win or cover as short road underdogs, they will need to continue elevating their level of play against winning teams. This will be a tougher challenge with Kevin Durant (hamstring) out on Tuesday, but James Harden and Kyrie Irving are more than capable of carrying them to a win.
The Nets have scored efficiently this season, as Cleaning The Glass ranks them first in halfcourt offensive rating (104.8) and fourth in overall offensive efficiency (118.8). Harden leads the NBA with 11.2 assists per game and commands the Nets offense as their point guard with Irving deferring to shooting guard. The Nets are elite offensively and still improving as they work on their chemistry. However, their issues lie on the defensive end, where they are 23rd in defensive efficiency (114.1).
The Nets have surprisingly been better defensively against better competition. In 11 games against teams with winning percentages of .500 or better, the Nets have a defensive rating of 107.5. The Nets have been significantly worse with a defensive rating of 117.4 in their 18 games against teams with records below .500. Consequently, the Nets have won 10 of 11 games against teams with records over .500 this season, but they are just 7-11 against all other teams (as of Monday before their game with the Kings).
Brooklyn’s defense will face a stiff test against the surging Suns, who had an offensive rating of 123.5 in their four wins last week. The Nets will need DeAndre Jordan and Jeff Green to step up with Durant out against the likes of Deandre Ayton, Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky inside.
After working through some chemistry issues early in the season, it appears that Chris Paul and Devin Booker are finally in sync, and the Suns have surged because of their newfound chemistry.
Paul appears to be deferring to Booker more when he is on the court and looking for his own shot more often when Booker is off the court. This recipe has led to success lately, as the Suns’ complementary players have played well off of them, and Booker was named Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 32.3 points (56.3% from the field and 47.6% on threes) last week.
In the Suns' last 10 games –
Devin Booker: 8 GP, 27.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.6 TPG, 52.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 82.2 FT%
Chris Paul: 9 GP, 19.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.6 TPG, 1.8 SPG, 53.1 FG%, 45.0 3P%, 96.2 FT%
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) February 15, 2021
If the Suns win and cover as short favorites, they need their bigs to take advantage of the Nets’ frontcourt. Ayton has been inconsistent this season, but when he plays aggressively this Suns team is at its best. They need him to be a factor on the boards as he is fourth in the NBA with an average of 12.8 rebounds per game and eighth with 3.7 offensive rebounds per game.
If the Nets play a drop coverage on defense when Jordan is on the court, CP3 will continuously hit his nearly automatic elbow jumpers. If the Nets play more aggressively by switching or showing on pick-and-rolls, Ayton should have quality looks inside. Other Suns bigs like Kaminsky and Saric will need to make quality decisions with the basketball to set up open looks for shooters like Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Booker.
While the Nets have been almost unbeatable against winning teams this season, take the Suns to win and cover as short favorites.
The Suns have been playing their best basketball with Paul and Booker playing well off of each other, and they are finally fully healthy. Their depth gives them a myriad of options against a Nets team whose depth is limited because of the Harden trade, Durant’s absence, and Spencer Dinwiddie’s season-ending injury.
Both teams have top-10 offenses, but the Suns’ sixth-ranked defense will be the difference against a pedestrian Nets defense that will be smaller than usual without Durant available. The Suns should have as good of a gameplan against Harden as possible and the Nets thanks to Paul’s familiarity with his game and Bridges’ perimeter defense.
The Suns should also win on the glass with Ayton’s advantage inside, and his presence will make the Nets pick their poison on defense between letting him roll to the rim or giving up midrange looks to Paul and Booker.
Per Cleaning The Glass, Paul and Booker each rank in the 92nd percentile among their position groups in midrange shooting accuracy at 52% and 51%, respectively. Cleaning The Glass also shows that the Nets rank 26th in midrange shooting frequency allowed and 24th in midrange shooting accuracy allowed thanks to their drop defense with DeAndre Jordan.
With Durant out and the Nets playing on the second night of a back-to-back, expect the Suns to get the victory. Take the Suns -2 to cover with value down to -3.5.
Pick: Suns -2 (bet down to -3.5)