The Phoenix Suns haven’t beaten the Houston Rockets in three games this year, but with the Rockets hurting and Brandan Wright starting, Phoenix brings upset potential to Saturday’s NBA odds board.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 19: 54-48-4 ATS, 5-8 Totals, minus-1.00 units ML
Not too long ago, in an article not very far away, we faded the Phoenix Suns in a matchup against the New York Knicks. The Knicks have been doing some interesting things lately, but our basketball pick was based more on how thin the Suns are these days – and our general displeasure with the Goran Dragic-Isaiah Thomas exodus at the trade deadline. Things didn’t quite work out; Phoenix won 102-89, barely cashing in as an 11.5-point home chalk on the NBA odds board.
Then the Suns took advantage of the New Orleans Pelicans sans Anthony Davis, beating the Pellies 74-72 Thursday night as a pick ‘em at home. Interesting. Now, we still have our concerns about this particular Phoenix team, but given the task of finding a good upset pick on Saturday’s NBA slate, we can’t help but notice the Suns are +315 road dogs against the Houston Rockets, who also have some injuries to worry about. To the Pickmobile~!
Let’s start with those injuries. The 46-22 Rockets aren’t quite as hamstrung as New Orleans was without Davis – for that to happen, they’d have to lose the services of MVP candidate James Harden (26.7 PER). But Houston did lose a valuable player when Terrence Jones (18.7 PER) suffered a partially collapsed lung in Thursday’s 118-108 win over the Denver Nuggets. Jones is expected to miss at least the next three games.
With Dwight Howard (18.1 PER) still not due back for at least one more game, Houston’s frontline will be compromised against Phoenix. We’re likely to see more minutes for Joey Dorsey (11.2 PER), who’s a beast on defense, but his minus-1.1 overall BPM is a concern. Jones has a plus-0.4 BPM this year.
But wait, there’s more: Patrick Beverley (11.4 PER, plus-1.0 BPM) is questionable for Saturday’s game (8:00 p.m. ET) with bursitis in his right elbow. Beverley has been playing through this injury and posting some of his best Game Scores of the season, but he’s also been logging a few extra minutes with Jason Terry (11.5 PER, minus-0.4 BPM) missing the last two games with a strained hamstring. Terry is expected to face the Suns on Saturday. We imagine Beverley will, too, but he’s not likely to sustain his recent level of play.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
The 36-33 Suns have injury problems of their own, but dare we say they’re the good kind? Brandon Knight (11.7 PER, minus-3.9 BPM) has been a disaster since coming over from the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline. But Knight has missed the last four games with a sprained left ankle, and he’s questionable to play on Saturday.
This could be a good thing. We were worried against New York that Phoenix didn’t have enough quality depth to cover that hole in the backcourt, but the Suns have re-inserted swingman P.J. Tucker (12.8 PER, plus-1.5 BPM) into the starting lineup, and they’ve also unglued Gerald Green (14.5 PER, minus-2.6 BPM) from the bench the past two games. Life could be worse.
Steal My Sunshine
Then you have starting center Alex Len (13.9 PER, minus-0.7 BPM), who’s also questionable for Saturday with an ankle injury. Len sat out the last two games; in his place, Brandan Wright (19.4 PER, plus-3.1 BPM) has continued his incredibly efficient play despite the extra workload. It’s long been a rule of thumb that Wright will turn into a pumpkin after 18-20 minutes, but it hasn’t happened yet this week.
Earl Barron (4.1 PER, minus-6.9 BPM) is the only big remaining on the Phoenix bench, so things could still go pear-shaped against Houston, no doubt about that. But we’re not looking for the most likely upset on Saturday’s slate – we’re looking for the best moneyline value against the NBA odds. We happen to like these odds for these particular Suns so we're backing them with our NBA Picks.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Suns +8½ at 5Dimes.