February 24, 2021

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NBA on TNT: Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns: Preview & Best Bet – 2/16/2021

By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets

A big duel in the desert tonight between the Nets and Suns takes the TNT late night spot in what should be a pretty good game. I’m going to dive into each team and highlight what they do well and not so well. James Harden vs. Devin Booker in Phoenix, strap it in, folks. 

Spread: BKN +3 (-105) | PHX (-115)

Money Line: BKN (+157) | PHX (-177) 

Total: 232 (O -115, U -105) 

Tip: 10:30 ET | PHX Arena | Phoenix, AZ

Brooklyn Nets (17-12)

The Nets bounced back from a three game losing streak at the beginning of the month and are currently riding a three game win streak. They’re 2-0 on the five game West Coast road trip but they’ll have their biggest challenges ahead of them with stops in Phoenix and two games against the Los Angeles teams. Brooklyn still owns the best offense in the league in terms of points scored (121 ppg) and field goal percentage (50.0%). They’re the second best three-point shooting squad at 40.4% from beyond the arc. 

Kevin Durant was finally able to rejoin the team against the Warriors after being sidelined due to Corona protocols. He played 33 minutes in the team’s 134-117 win and put up 20 points on a 8-19 shooting night. He went a lowly 1-6 from deep. He is the team’s leader in scoring with 29.0 points per game and he’s adding 7.3 rebounds. According to Malika Andrews, Durant will miss tonight’s game with a hamstring injury. So it’ll be up to Kyrie Irving and James Harden to carry the load. 

Phoenix Suns (17-9)

The Phoenix Suns were my longshot pick to win the NBA Finals and they’ve been playing excellent. The Suns are a perfect 6-0 on their current homestand and looking to finish it off with another win tonight. During the span they’ve picked up quality wins over the 76ers, Bucks, and Celtics. People keep waiting for them to drop off but I think they’re going to make a nice playoff run this season. As a team, they’re the 11th best shooting team at 47.2% and are averaging 111 points per game, which ranks 18th. 

Individually, it’s been Devin Booker averaging 24.5 points per game to go along with 4.3 assists. Overall, the team is very fundamental and that’s what you get when you bring in a guy like Chris Paul. You have six guys averaging over 10 points (seven if you include Dario Saric who has only played nine games) and you’re hitting 83.1% of free throws which ranks second. They’re also 10th in turnovers at just 12.3 per game so you can finally start to see what’s developing in Phoenix and I love it. 

Final Analysis & Best Bet

I’ll be playing the Suns on both the -3 spread (-115) and money line (-177) for a unit each. Ultimately it comes down to how the Suns will be the more well balanced team on the floor tonight. I mean, the Nets defense is absolutely horrendous and you couple that with them being without Kevin Durant, I think they’re in trouble. A huge advantage that I see for Phoenix tonight is that they move very slow. You don’t want to find yourself in an “up and down” battle with a team like Brooklyn because they are the better shooting team from inside and outside of the arc. So if they keep the pace slow, like they usually do (ranking 29th in pace at 98.6 possessions per game), I think it’ll bode well. DeAndre Ayton should have a monster game on the block. I’m also going to take DeAndre Ayton to get at least 29 points, rebounds, and assists (-105) for a unit. Suns are the hotter team, they’re healthier, and they’re more fundamentally disciplined so they should get it done tonight! Good luck!

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