Ol' Fashion Shootout

After a terrible start to the season, the Golden State Warriors have worked their way out of last place in the Pacific Division. They still have a long way to go to catch the first-place Phoenix Suns.

The three-time defending division champion Suns look to win their ninth straight game when they visit the Warriors on Monday in a matchup of the two highest-scoring teams in the league.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Phoenix –5.5 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 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix –5.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

After scoring 80 points in the first half of its 127-111 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday, Phoenix (11-2) waited until the second half to put away the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

The Suns outscored the Clippers 62-42 after the break en route to a 113-94 victory, as they improved to 11-0 when scoring at least 100 points.

"The second half intensity was definitely very important to us,'' said Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire, who scored 13 of his season-high 29 points in the pivotal third quarter of his team's eighth consecutive win.

The Suns are averaging 111.5 points and shooting above 50 percent from the field during their winning streak. However, two-time MVP Steve Nash doesn't believe the team is yet playing its best.

"I don't think we're playing as great as we have in certain streaks in the past, but we're still building," said Nash, who is averaging 16.9 points and 12.3 assists during the streak. "It's early in the season, so the record's great considering.''

Phoenix is off to its best start since opening 13-2 in 2004-05, and needs to win its next three games to match the franchise's best start of 14-2 in 1980-81.

"We're not thinking about the record, we're just taking it one game at a time," Suns forward Shawn Marion said.

Marion had 21 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots on Friday. He is averaging 21.2 points and 12.5 boards in his last 12 games against Golden State.

The Suns took three of four games from the Warriors in last season's series, and have won six of the last eight matchups between the teams.

Golden State (5-7) is coming off a 100-98 overtime win over Philadelphia on Saturday. The victory was the fifth in six games for the Warriors, who have recovered from an 0-6 start thanks to a high-powered offense averaging 107 points per game - second-most in the NBA.

Kelenna Azubuike finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds against the 76ers, and made a 3-pointer from the left corner with 6.1 seconds left in overtime to secure the victory.

"We definitely needed to come out tonight playing hard and leave with a win,'' said Golden State's Stephen Jackson, who had 18 points but also committed eight turnovers. "Fortunately we found a way, and that's what you have to do in this league.''

Jackson is averaging 20.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in five contests since his return from a seven-game NBA suspension. He had 29 points, seven assists and six boards in his only game against the Suns last season, a 124-119 Warriors win on March 29.

Monta Ellis had 31 points Saturday, equaling his career high set in Golden State's 113-110 loss to Phoenix on Nov. 20, 2006. In four games against the Suns last season, Ellis averaged 23.3 points - his most against any Western Conference opponent.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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