Mixing up Their Styles

The Phoenix Suns feel they have two different styles to use since the addition of Shaquille O'Neal. The last two games, they've used the one they seem most comfortable with.

The Suns, who look to be back to their high-scoring ways, try to sweep the season series from the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Phoenix -9.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 228 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 89% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix -9.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Phoenix (43-22) is looking to win four consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 18-22 after winning 123-115 over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday in a matchup between the league's two highest scoring teams. The Suns shot 54.9 percent overall and outscored Golden State 38-22 in the third quarter to erase a five-point halftime deficit.

Amare Stoudemire had 36 points and 11 rebounds, while Steve Nash had 21 points and 13 assists. O'Neal, who played less than 17 minutes in a 132-111 win over Memphis on Tuesday, finished with nine points, four rebounds and three turnovers in 14 minutes because of foul trouble.

Nash said the team has to adjust it's style depending on whether O'Neal is on the floor or not.

"We're still in a training camp mode really for the rest of the year," he said, "but we're learning. I think we're getting more accustomed to playing both ways and how we can change on the fly and be comfortable and efficient."

The wins over the Warriors and Grizzlies were two of Phoenix's highest scoring games since O'Neal joined the lineup. The Suns were averaging 109.8 points in the 53 games before the trade for O'Neal, and they averaged 106.1 in the first 10 games with him. With Thursday's victory, Phoenix improved to 6-6 with O'Neal.

"The last two games have been two different types of games, we've shown now that we can run or come down and execute," O'Neal said. "If we play like that, it looks good."

The Suns look to keep up the offensive surge against the Kings (29-35) after averaging 114.7 points in winning the first three meetings this season. Phoenix has won eight of its last nine against Sacramento, but hasn't swept the regular-season series since 1999-2000.

The Kings are looking to win three straight after beating the Portland Trail Blazers 96-85 on Thursday. Ron Artest had 22 points and six steals while Brad Miller and Beno Udrih each added 14 points.

Sacramento led the entire way and held an opponent to fewer than 100 points for the first time in 12 games. The Kings are 14-11 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 points.

"The defense was as good as I've seen us play in a long time," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "We had a couple of days to practice and concentrate on defense. It showed tonight. Defense had become a big concern for us."

Before winning back-to-back games, the Kings had lost seven of eight. They are in 11th place in the Western Conference - 11 games behind Golden State for the final playoff spot.

"I'm over the agony of the possibility of not making the playoffs," Artest said. "It's pretty frustrating so now I'm just going out there and play hard."

Artest has missed the last two games against the Suns, but scored 33 points and had 12 rebounds in a 100-98 loss at Phoenix on Nov. 20.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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