Phoenix and Brooklyn would love nothing more than being the top seeds in their respective conferences. In order to achieve such a goal, they need a victory Sunday to continue the journey.
The Phoenix Suns (42-17, 36-22-1 ATS) have shocked the entire league this season. Many have considered them one of the feel-good stories of this season. However, with triumphs over Utah, Philadelphia and a sweep of Milwaukee, the narrative is changing about Phoenix. The Suns have gone from a nice story to among the teams to beat in many bettor’s eyes, though top sportsbooks still have them only as the seventh choice to win the crown since experience has always counted.
Brooklyn (40-20, 30-30 ATS) is the overall favorite, yet, by now everyone wonders if Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving will play any more games together in the regular season and if they would, can they stay healthy collectively for a playoff run?
Phoenix Suns vs. Brooklyn Nets
Sunday, April 25, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at Barclays Center
Phoenix Still Learning to Play on Even Keel
One of the concerns about the Suns reaching elite status is playing at or close to that level game after game. Phoenix is only 3-5-1 ATS since their amazing overtime battle with Utah on April 7, when they won 117-113. What is talked about is the up and down nature of their performances, getting revved up for the first of two difficult contests, winning the first, and the emotional tank close to empty for the second matchup.
The most recent example of this was beating Philadelphia on the road Wednesday, following that up with a 6-for-35 flop from behind the arc at Boston the next night and losing by 13 as one-point away favorites. This is now noticeable and those making NBA picks will watch for the outcome of this clash as Phoenix will play Monday at Madison Square Garden against smokin’ hot New York.
When the playoffs arrive, every conflict is a grind and the best teams know how to manage energy and stay on an even keel, looking to win the fourth quarter for victories. Coach Monty Williams's crew is 4-2 and 3-3 ATS when playing with two days off, winning by 5.2 points a game.
Nets Not Panicking with Harden News
For Nets fans who’ve had title hopes since assembling their Big 3 to this year’s roster, the James Harden news about his hamstring was quite unsettling. Nobody knows when Harden is available in the future and with the playoffs starting on May 22, that is under a month.
While Brooklyn backers might be jittery, first head coach Steve Nash won’t be. This team has played 60 times and only on five occasions has their trio of offensive superstars played together. In coach-speak, you play with “who’s dressed” and exceed expectations.
Though the Nets have been lit up all year about their defense, they rank 14th or 15th in field goal percentage defense, two-point and three-point percentage, along with the metric effective FG percentage. They don’t hand out awards for being average at the level of play, but when you have the second-best scoring offense without all your studs, just making enough stops and at the right times can be good enough.
When you take that into consideration and how games are played in The Association right now, the oddsmakers having the Nets favored to take home the hardware is less far-fetched than it sounds.
The Point Spread Winner
The odds favor the Nets as word was released late Saturday afternoon that Durant was moved to probable. Brooklyn received further positive good news that Tyler Johnson, who has been out since early April with knee soreness, is also listed as probable Sunday.
While adding KD makes the Nets an immediate threat with far more offensive firepower, it’s not like Phoenix cannot compete offensively with Brooklyn. Devin Booker and his crew is 6th compared to the Nets at 2nd in offensive efficiency.
If Nash’s guys want to pick up the pace, the Suns have ample firepower and they have a substantial edge when on the defensive end, where Williams’ players are consistent on that end of the floor, permitting 108.5 PPG on the road and 107.8 PPG in the desert. We'll say the Suns shine in the boroughs.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.