The Washington Wizards are several games better than the Phoenix Suns in the standings but they play in the Eastern Conference while the Suns play in the much tougher Western Conference.
The Washington Wizards Can Win Because…
Their defense remains fairly consistent despite showing some occasional signs of stress. Washington still allows under 98 points per game. The Wizards had been allowing 97.2 points per game at an earlier point in the season, but that average has slowly crept up to 97.6. Yet, it’s not as though the Wizards have suffered a collapse at the defensive end. They have played a couple of overtime games recently, which skews per-game stats. Points allowed per 48 minutes, not per game, offers a better indication of where any team stands, and so the Wizards come out looking better under that standard of measurement.
Washington should also feel better about its bench. It got an amazing performance from reserve Kris Humphries on Sunday against Denver in a two-point overtime win on the road. Humphries popped in 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to push the Wizards to victory. John Wall added 16 assists, but it was Humphries who made a major contribution for this team, giving it a lot of encouragement on a long Western road trip, in which bodies are tired and bench guys need to be accountable.
The Wizards are not a great offensive team, but they can see that Phoenix, despite playing at home, has been gashed on defense the past two games. Houston scored 113 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers scored 120 on Sunday. The Suns are reeling, and Washington can make them suffer even more.
The Phoenix Suns Can Win Because…
They've played really good teams in their recent games, which should make basketball analysts not downgrade them too harshly. Houston and the Clippers are outrageously talented teams with championship aspirations in a rugged Western Conference. A lot of teams are going to give up big numbers to Houston and Los Angeles. A lot of teams will get smoked by James Harden the way the Suns were, and then get shredded by Chris Paul a few days later. The Suns can bounce back against a team that doesn’t score as well, and the Wizards don’t even average 100 points per game. That’s one reason the Suns should win here.
Another reason the Suns have to like their chances is that Washington is nearing the end of a long Western road swing that has taken the team from Portland to Denver to Los Angeles (Lakers) to Phoenix. The Wizards’ legs might be dead, whereas the Suns have two full days off before this game. The Suns’ rest could really pay off for them, so keep this in mind when looking over the NBA Odds.
The Suns are rested, and they’re not likely to hemorrhage on defense against a much poorer offensive team compared to Houston and the Clippers. On top of that, the Wizards are in a back-to-back situation here and also playing their fourth game in five nights on the road. That should be the main difference between the two teams, so take Phoenix with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Phoenix -5 at BetOnline