NBA Betting: Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Hornets

By: David Schwab | Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Phoenix Suns will look to even the season series with the New Orleans Hornets at two games apiece when the teams clash Friday night at the New Orleans Arena. Game time is set 5 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on NBA TV.

Phoenix will be watching the upcoming playoffs on TV for the first time in years after a 3-7 straight-up record in its last 10 games officially ended any shot at making the postseason. The Suns come into this game fresh off a 108-98 win over Minnesota as a 4 ½-point road favorite on Wednesday night to snap a four-game road losing streak.

They are now 38-40 SU on the year and 36-39-3 against the spread.

Marcin Gortat had a big night against the Timberwolves with 20 points and 16 rebounds in one of his better games as a Sun, but Steve Nash, Vince Carter and Grant Hill still account for over 40 percent of the scoring.

Nash is also dishing out a NBA-best 11.4 assists a game, while Gortat leads the team in rebounds with 9.4.

The Suns have had no problem putting points on the board this season; averaging 104.9 a game. The main problem has been a defense that is giving up an average of 105.5 points, which is ranked 26th in the league. This number has risen to an average of 108.1 points over the past 10 games.

New Orleans finally clinched a playoff spot with a 101-93 victory over Houston on Wednesday night as a three-point home favorite. It was the Hornets’ fifth win in their last seven games and followed a 108-96 win over Indiana as a 4 ½-point home favorite this past Sunday.

Chris Paul and Company are currently tied with Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference with a record of 45-33 SU (38-38-2 ATS). Each team has four games left to play.

The Hornets lost David West for the season with a knee injury, but Paul and Carl Landry have done a good job in picking up the slack in his absence. Paul is averaging 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 9.8 assists a game and Landry is averaging 12.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. Trevor Ariza has also stepped up his game with 19 points in each of his last two games.

New Orleans has been one of the more stingy teams in the league, giving up an average of just 93.5 points a game. The problem is on the offensive side of the ball where the team is scoring just 95.1 points a game. The Hornets have been able to maintain this average in the six games since West went down, but his loss will certainly not help their situation in the playoffs.

The good news for this game is that New Orleans has averaged 102.7 points in their three games this season against the Suns.

Phoenix is 3-2 ATS in its last five games on the road, but just 3-5 ATS in its last eight games overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in three of its last four games.

New Orleans is 3-1 ATS in its last four home games and 4-2 ATS in its last six games overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in three of its last five games.

Head-to-head, the Suns have won five of the last eight games SU, but the Hornets have won two of three this season including a 106-100 victory on March 25 as a six-point road underdog. The total has gone ‘over’ in three of the last four meetings.

New Orleans should open as a six- to seven-point favorite for this game. You have to question how much motivation the Suns will bring into this one as they continue to ride out the string. Stick with the Hornets to win and cover the points as they are still fighting for position in the playoffs.

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