LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 13: Phoenix Suns Guard Devin Booker (1) argues a call during a NBA game between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers on February 13, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Amid a brutal part of the schedule, the Phoenix Suns face the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday April 25th
- Brooklyn beat the Celtics on Friday night even with Kevin Durant and James Harden unavailable
- Read below for a betting preview, odds and pick
The Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets meet at Barclays Center on April 25th. This is a game with major seeding implications in both conferences. Brooklyn has overtaken the Sixers for the one seed in the East, while the Suns are looking over their shoulders at the red-hot Clippers.
Kevin Durant was upgraded to questionable prior the Nets’ game on Friday, but the former MVP sat out the win over Boston. At the time of writing, it’s unclear if Durant will be available for Sunday’s game against Phoenix. James Harden (hamstring) remains out indefinitely for the Nets, while Jae Crowder is listed as day-to-day for the Suns.
Suns vs Nets Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at FanDuel||Total Points|
|Phoenix Suns||+2.5 (-110)||+118||N/A|
|Brooklyn Nets||-2.5 (-110)||-138||N/A|
Odds as of Apr 24
Brooklyn Keeps Finding A Way
Brooklyn is 7-5 over their last 12 games, a span stretching back to James Harden’s injury. The Nets are also 6-4 against the spread over their last 10.
Harden was constructing an MVP case not so long ago, which makes it all the more remarkable that the Nets have kept winning. Kevin Durant has only featured in five games over the run, including a couple with a tight minutes restriction and when he played just four minutes against the Heat.
The Nets are second in team true shooting over this run. Even with just league-average three-point shooting, Brooklyn is finding a way to pick up wins. This was evident against the Celtics and Pelicans.
Ridiculous Kyrie finish early on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/ms53t1I2of
— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2021
Kyrie Irving had a quiet night facing his former team on Friday, but the Nets have sufficient depth to put up points anyway. Joe Harris had 20. Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown combined for 28 off the bench, and Jeff Green is giving them some solid minutes in the frontcourt. The defense has even been solid, sitting 13th in defensive rating in April.
Lob Slam for Blake Griffin. 🔥
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 17, 2021
Even when he’s not putting up massive numbers, Irving is embracing the role of point guard in Harden’s absence. He’s averaging 8.5 assists and keeping the ball moving – don’t underestimate the Nets even when they’re missing key players.
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Up And Down Suns
Phoenix has two wins and two losses in its last four. Impressive wins over the Sixers and Bucks have been undone by a blowout loss to the Spurs and a comprehensive defeat to the Celtics. The Suns still have an excellent record against teams above .500 (22-8), but in the midst of a grueling Eastern Conference road trip, they are suddenly under threat for the two seed.
“Devin Booker is one of the best young players in our game today.”
— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) April 24, 2021
Perhaps playing on the second night of a back-to-back qualifies a poor performance from the Suns in Boston. They shot 17.1% from three. With a 22-8-8 performance, Chris Paul was a one-man show.
All eyes are on Devin Booker. He’s slumping right now. The All-Star scorer is at 18 points per game on over 17 shots, and shooting under 18% from three. The Suns do not have the offensive firepower to compensate for such a poor run from one of their stars – they desperately need Booker to regain his touch on Sunday. Even without Harden and possibly Durant, the Nets have enough on offense to blow Phoenix away if Booker isn’t efficient. The Nets are sixth in offensive rating over the last seven games.
Last night, Chris Paul recorded his 43rd career game with at least 10 assists and 0 turnovers.
Rajon Rondo has the next most such games among active players…with 13. pic.twitter.com/MYSP9NXTpM
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 16, 2021
At their best, the Suns are a well-oiled machine. It’s a team where everyone knows their role. If one of the key men is unavailable or underperforming, though, the team can suddenly lack balance, and this is particularly notable when Booker is struggling.
Uncertainty Over Both Teams
After a brilliant run through the first few months of 2021, the Suns have shown some vulnerability of late. Booker’s performances aren’t a cause for concern long-term, but it’s a worry for the Suns ahead of Sunday’s game, particularly with the Knicks, Clippers and Jazz to come.
After being listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Celtics, the Nets say Kevin Durant has been ruled out.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) April 23, 2021
As ever, there’s uncertainty with Brooklyn. They have beaten Boston and the Pelicans, but they also fell to the struggling Raptors and were blown out by the Lakers without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Waiting on more news about Durant’s availability is key. Given he was upgraded on Friday, though, it could be worth backing the Nets early as he will have had another couple of days to recover. Even if Durant sits out, the Nets have shown they can win without him – there could be good value backing Brooklyn to win this one considering the Suns’ inconsistencies of late.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets (-138)
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Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.